Organization and organizing in revolutionary times: The case of Tunisian General Labor Union
Yousfi, Hèla (2021), Organization and organizing in revolutionary times: The case of Tunisian General Labor Union, Organization. 10.1177/13505084211020186
TypeArticle accepté pour publication ou publié
Nom de la revueOrganization
MétadonnéesAfficher la notice complète
Dauphine Recherches en Management [DRM]
Résumé (EN)Adopting Barker’s (2011) Marxist approach of a social movement “as a whole”, this article addresses the question of whether and how mass-membership movement organizations can break out of oligarchic authority and support a radical political protest movement. Using an ethnographic approach, this article explores how the UGTT (the Tunisian General Labor Union) responded to organizational challenges during the Tunisian popular uprising in 2010 by examining its intra-organizational processes as well as its interactions with other parts of the protest movement and how their struggles mutually aided the fall of Ben Ali’s regime. The findings highlight that two correlated aspects were critical to a radical transformation of UGTT’s conservative goal. First, unionists with activism experience outside the labor organization played a key role as “mediators,” deriving meaning from the organizational culture of the union to interpret the course of the event, supporting the popular uprising, and forcing the union leadership to join the revolutionary process. Second, the unpredictable and unprecedented regime repression radicalized the protest movement and its claims, and ruptured the union’s traditional bureaucracy. The article concludes by elaborating on the potential of organizational studies to help us understand the role of trade unions in protest movement organizing and, more broadly, the role of formal mass-membership organizations in social movements.
Mots-clésArab Spring; social movement theory; trade unions; Tunisia; UGTT
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