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vol 26 • 2019

A present without future? Youth, education and family in Tunisia

A present without future? Youth, education and family in Tunisia

Jose Sánchez García (Universitat Pompeu Fabra) and Sihem Najjar (University of Tunis El- Manar)



A few months subsequent to the Egyptian uprising, the anthropologist Salim Shahine recognized the decisive role of the contemporary generation of youths played in the event with this phrase: “Egyptians of all ages express their admiration for young people and their revolution, and we are defined in relation to those kids” (Shahine, 2011:2). This young generation, during the past decade, was using old and new social networks to demand better living conditions, fair and democratic governance, respect, dignity and individual freedom to plan a future (Onodera, 2011; Floris 2012; Singerman, 2013; Sánchez García, 2014a) [1]. As a result, young people become an agent in social change that, in many cases, they have not had their aspirations fulfilled, and some of them ask themselves “where is the Revolution?” (Agrama, 2011; Abdalla, 2012; Floris, 2012; British Council and American University in Cairo, 2013).

In Tunis, the “youth army” came from poor urban and rural areas moving towards the capital (Knickmeyer, 2011) but after 8 years of the so-called “Arab Spring” [2] that apparently permitted the “awakening of civil society” as a leitmotif for youngsters, who were better equipped to invest in the public space and become aware of their importance as a pressure group that is increasingly called upon to position itself and play a role in the efforts made in the transition to democracy, it is necessary to think about the capacity of young people in Tunis to escape from the traditional values. According to the data obtained through SAHWA Project fieldwork, young people involved in cultural activities acquire greater opportunities to develop personal skills, abilities and become socially recognised, which allows them to plan their lives in current societies with a significant individualising character in contrast with traditional values.

Nevertheless, in a broader sense, the youth in Tunisia are living in societies where the interest of the group prevails over the interest of the individuals. The individual self is integrated into the family, and the triumphs of familial interest prevail over individual interest. This means that a broader sense of the concept should be considered, including issues related to family, religion and social values, which are recognised as adult- centred institutions. To do this, we will focus on education and values contrasting parental educational practices with the description and analysis of some experiences of “peer socialisation” permits us to establish the significance of this kind of pedagogical perspective, especially in marginalised environments [3]. In this paper, we are considering that not everything is always changing and moving in the Arab societies. What may change is the views from outside (or from inside). However, the real patterns and values of the institutions and of young people are not changing so fast. The key point is diversity: in Western countries, the Nation-building processes (based on education, the welfare state, markets, and so on) have created the conditions for a homogeneization of social life and for the globalizing of youth culture. This is still not the case in the Arab Countries, where diversity in terms of family, education, gender and territory remains a determinant factor. Nevertheless, the aim of this research is to evaluate to what extent recent social and political changes have reversed the scene for the younger generations. From this point of view, this paper attempts to describe continuities and changes concerning education and the diversity of social actors that shape young people’s lives.

Youth and Society in North Africa

In young people’s perception, respect for traditions and values contribute greatly to fostering their social inclusion, but the practice of the new performs is determined by the characteristics of the family. As a young Tunisian man explains, “Well! the father is the authority, and if youngsters feel that there is no authority, then... especially when the youngsters lack consciousness until adolescence... because nowadays young people, up to a certain age, still think in a way... I don’t know... you see! Okay I think that strictness of the parents is the solution, my father helped me, I do not agree with people who object to the strictness of a father with his son, he shouts, I sincerely believe it is a good thing!”(W). In this sense, there are some young people that tend to incline towards the new values and there are others that do not accept them. This general ambiguous tendency is marked in the responses to the question about the importance of tradition to young people, both male and female:

Figure 1. Source: SAHWA Youth Survey 2016.

Figure 1. Source: SAHWA Youth Survey 2016.

As a result, one of the most important social institutions for producing “normativised” youth in the region is the family. Parent culture, despite its name implying one’s immediate mother and father, can be considered as broader cultural networks defined by ethnic and class identities in which youth cultures are developed. The rules of behaviour and values of the groups of origin can act as the reference points for young people to conform with or to rebel against. In this sense, family appears as an adult control institution that marks the production of youth cultures. “The family is still trying to preserve tradition, but in large cities it is difficult. On the inside we try to preserve things and outside...” says a young participant in a focus group. Other participants point out that “in general families still preserve values in Djelfa (Algeria), for example the position [of] the old in the family, respect, relationships with neighbours, we don’t accept also gender mixity, el hidjab, but among young people there is retreat in moral values, especially in terms of respect between the two sexes... girls cannot go out into the street without harassment” (DZ_FG_8: 12). A 25-year-old woman describes the significance of family for young women in Canastel (Oran, Algeria), “when you have brothers you must serve them”. As the report remarks, “her father is the decision-maker at home and often gives the right for females by males, and imposes his decisions, which must be implemented. Brothers do not have any say as long as the father is the one who governs at home”; and she remarks” never insist when I don’t get what I asked for” (DZ_LS_1: 3). The tension with parents also appears among Moroccan young entrepreneurs, especially young women. In fact, according to a young woman entrepreneur from Morocco this generational gap is related to two different ways of life, the entrepreneurial and the “conservative” of her parents. As a young Moroccan man explains “I do not communicate much with my parents, they know I am both an entrepreneur and a student, but they do not have any idea of what exactly I am doing. For them I might as well be doing nothing … They would not understand it” (MA_LS_3: 11). In any case, family continues to be a significant social institution in the area. Their attitude to youth actions is significant for understanding the valorisation or refutation of youth cultural practices.

As consequence, in the region, the categorization of a person as belonging to the “youth” as social category has blurred borders. As a Moroccan stakeholder remarks: “[all the countries] have different definitions: for Morocco, it's 18 to 30 years old; in Egypt, it's 18 to 35, Bahrain, it’s 18 to 40. The definition depends on when the person leaves home and becomes the head of household. Thus, the householder becomes the person that has [status] in the society and therefore defining the youth is very complicated” (MA_FG_3: 2). The starting point of the period is defined but the decisive attribute for young men and women is to leave their family home and become head of their own household. In this sense, if we consider the difficulties young people have to live alone in accordance with dominant social norms as expressed in focus group discussions and as survey data confirms, more than 65% of the respondents live with their parents. Moreover, from a youth perspective, we can ensure that young people are trapped in a world in which they are required to become adults to be married. Marriage as a social marker alters the social categorization of individuals and their relationships from youth to adulthood according to the cultural construction of the life course. These processes “naturalize” the youth life stage and, depending on the social and cultural differences, allow it to achieve its goal: the production of socially and politically mature individuals.

In consequence, the moment of marriage is perceived as the moment whereby young people leave their liminal condition behind and achieve the status of “adult”, according to the social construction of the life cycle (Sánchez García and Feixa, 2017). The delay in accessing adult status through marriage suffered by the young places them in a social space in which they are neither children nor independent adults (Singerman, 1995, 2007; Ghannam, 2013). The condition of socially constructed non-adults facilitates people of “youth” social age being seen or perceived by much of society as “incomplete” individuals. At the same time, this position on the margins of the dominant social, economic and political fields, for whatever reason it may be, complicates their life planning emplaced them in continuous present. From their own perspective, in both the lower and upper classes, the youth find themselves trapped in a world in which they are urged to become adults as soon as possible through marriage. Whatever their class, gender, ethnic origin or religious orientation, many young people cannot afford to start a family and maintain a home and thereby become fully independent or participate in the privileges and/or responsibilities of the adult social age. This is a clear difference from their peers in Western countries for whom, in general, the condition of youth is one to be prolonged beyond the stipulated age (Furlong, 2009).

Nevertheless, to confront this situation, the young deploy an agency that works from the everyday to wade through, bypass or avoid the institutional structures of societies distinguished by their adult-centrism, which leave them on the margins and are led by the so-called “judges of normality” (Ghannam, 2013). This agency is rooted in the new technologies and knowledge that connect young people with global cultures without losing their local colour. In other text it has been examined four dimensions of the agency of youth to deal with marginalization processes in depth (Sánchez García and Sánchez- Montijano, 2018). Youths have sought ways to escape educational, labour, political and cultural marginality. Multiple employment, entrepreneurship, informal ways to acquire social capabilities, self-training –mainly through new technologies, but not only-, and cultural devices through which they can express their concerns and participate in public life are the main strategies (Sánchez- Montijano and Sánchez-García, 2019). The question now is if young people are altering and subverting this hierarchical structure, model and discourse, and if so through what narratives and practices they challenge this habitus and embody new manners of achieving adulthood.

In this paper we analyse the family dynamics in Tunisia as stick that permits understand the continuities and changes that youth practices are provoking in it without forget that the main aim of the family is produce marriageable youths. Throughout today’s North Africa, family structures are in full-blown transformation. According to Boucebci (1993), what seems to characterise the current decades in the transitional Maghreb are sociocultural changes affecting domestic organisation : the place of the generations, the relations between them, as well as interfamily communication and dynamics. Assembling this body of work (the focus groups, life stories and the ethnographies of several young groups) we note an evolving dynamic in a trajectory of both opening up and conservatism, combining old and new values (Ben Salem and Locoh, 2001). As a result, the analysis of the content allows us to understand both the place of the family in education and the break or continuity between expressly religious values and current social ones. It also sheds light on the link between the type of educational practices and young people’s life plans.

Education and Family

As we noted, family is a source of social capital. This means that family honour, respectability or wasta [4] connections are resources for the youth to achieve adulthood via marriage. All these attributes, which are related to education, job position and economic circumstances, form the prestige and reputation of young people as members of a family. Being young, in this situation, means managing a whole range of complex identities, and rather than transition, it is about navigating social and personal circumstances. These conditions influence the young people’s decisions about marriage and their own chances to marry. Marriage is not a criterion for the success of the individual but success is necessary when studying, in acquiring a good job position, in spending the money earned on supporting one’s family and in being “respectable”. This intersection of identities results in a “marriageable” position for both young men and women.

The Tunisian sociologist Bouhdiba said long ago that Arab societies were characterized as “a world based on the division between sexes, a world based on the dichotomy of ages” (Bouhdiba, 1975). These two divisions traditionally determined the social construction of reality. From an adult perspective the gender dichotomy is aimed at controlling female behaviour through family first and marriage after (Fitouri 1994; Mensch 2003). The hegemonic impositions together with economic and political instability, have limited the possibilities of social and cultural change with regard to values and social behaviour as well as to the types of social relationships among young people ‘allowed’ by ‘adults’. It is rooted in a cultural model for biological reproduction based on the concept of fitrah, understood as the organization of God's creation in all its aspects, including, obviously, the life cycle (Gobillot, 2000; Nigst and Sánchez García, 2010; Nigst, 2014) [5]. The characteristics of this concept propose models of social construction in a decisive way, deciding what young people are allowed and not allowed to do.

From young perspective, the family remains a reference point and the source of most values. Young people think that the family, to varying degrees, still provides the right education and the “good” way to emancipation. This unites the “respect for others” that is a recurring theme with “cleanliness”: being a clean person, this is honest with a religious tendency to understand this value. The family also provides an anchoring of safety and a supportive environment. Some young girls appreciate the spontaneous impulse of generosity shown by her parents in moments of joy, of mourning or at difficult times. Young boys, by his part, expresses a strong attachment to his parents and explains how the small sums of money that he makes are most often spent in the family (on, for example, interior fittings). Some, disappointed by their own friendships, end up admitting that their parents are still their best friends.

This good education is underpinned by religion, which organises relations and colours customs and traditions. According to K. (23 years old) description, religion is diffused through the harmony of social values, it is not an external content imposed on individuals. The family provides guidance that the young person ends up incorporating,

“We show you what to do and the things to avoid! You will end up finding your own way ... knowing that God is good... getting to know your duties... prayer, fasting, reading the Koran... even the dress code...” (K.)

A good example of this influence on personal decisions of the religious values transmitted by family is A. a 24 years old woman of Gafsa [6], holder of a diploma in tourism, that declines offers to work in hotels for moral and religious reasons. This state of affairs does not prevent ambivalence or even criticism of religious conservatism. For certain people and notably girls, family education is synonymous with obedience, if not blind submission, that in certain regards limits the impulse for emancipation and even personal aspirations. Very early on, young K. realised the difficult line she would have to tread between submission and hope of a better life. The fear of seeing his daughter “deviate” leads her father to forbid her from meeting up with friends, which, for periods, reduces her life to complete solitude. Her father did everything to impose the wearing of the veil, but she has resisted fiercely, not because it disgusts her but because she cannot abide the imposition. In Djerba [7], conservatism and religiosity not only maintain an irrefutable place in domestic relations, they also reinforce Jewish, Sunni Muslim and Ibadi social groups. All family education and values are directed to maintain young woman cleanliness in order to get a good marriage and the family name.

The conservative values continuity observed in Djerba is qualified by the young people in Cité Ibn Khaldoun. Instead, they attest to a rupture between the education they receive from their parent and the imperatives of social life. There is a total separation between the values of the family and those of the street or the souk -informal market-. The words used to characterise the last two places show a certain level of violence. The young people in poor neighbourhoods such as Intilaqa in Cité Ibn Khaldun tell us of parental education marked by violence. In a life story, M. describes the cruelty of the everyday landscape. His parents in permanent conflict, inflict the most brutal of experiences on their children: obscenities, insults, screams and abuse at home and on the street. M. has been beaten by his father since he was suspected of hanging out with the young offenders in the neighbourhood who take zatla-marihuana- and other pharmaceutical narcotics. At 18 years old, able to take his father’s violence no longer, he consumes and sells zatla, he self-harms and his first attempted theft, under the influence of drugs, ends in him being sent to prison.

In contrast to the upbringings provided by these young people’s parents in poor neighbourhoods, the parents with high levels of education represent a source of autonomy and encourage emancipation, self-expression and political engagement. These parents are educated, especially the fathers. Most of these young people – whether they oppose or adhere to paternal ideologies – attribute to their parents a more or less important role in their initiation to public affairs. A, son of a history and geography teacher, shows an interest in culture in general and politics in particular. K, also owes much of her interest in politics to her father, who is a diplomat. F, with a hairdresser father, who is well-informed and resolute in his democratic political positions, helped her awakening as a citizen. W, with a father that is an academic, “discusses decisions, speaks about taboo subjects”.

Education beyond family

Young people in Tunisia, besides the family and school, have other places of meeting and sociability have potential importance for the socialisation and knowledge production necessary to the processes of identity building implemented by the young people through interaction and the socio-symbolic appropriation of the space (Parazelli, 2002). Analysing the body of work reveals that by investing in the extra-family and extra-school spaces, young people conduct identity recomposition through the development of socialisation practices with other young people in the quest for a degree of autonomy in relation to parental and school authority (though the family continues to be important in young people’s lives). The family therefore finds itself in competition (or even rivalry) with the peer group, which exercises its socio-symbolic role in spaces as diverse as the street, cafés, youth centres and cultural centres. In the interviews conducted, the young people oppose the peer groups (the street and places of youth socialisation) with the family (the family home). We can, however, distinguish two different attitudes held by young people in regard to the peer group and life in society in general.

The discourse of certain young people values the ideal family (Lucchini, 1993, 228) and judges their peer group’s way of life and values negatively (bad company, drug and alcohol consumption, style of dress, depravity, etc.). To this end, the peer group is the subject of critical judgement because it is thought that it leads young people into spaces “considered to be the places associated with society’s “underground”, counter-cultural and illicit activities” (Parazelli, 2000, 195). The statements made by R, inhabitant of Cité Ibn Khaldoun, are particularly illustrative in this regard. He affirms that: “The street undoes what parents have done. You learn reprehensible things there. It makes you lose what you’ve learned at home or at school, but that’s relative!” Several interviews show that the young people are exposed to multiple risks in the street and in the spaces of sociability that escape family control: the café, university halls or the tourist areas… These interviews contain statements that reveal the dangerous potential effects of “bad company”: deviation, el hamla; unhealthy habits, el fassad; and clandestine emigration, el harqa. In terms of clandestine emigration, W speaks of his misadventure in 2012:

“It happens like this – you’re at the café, you speak to your friends, you say you’d like to emigrate (tahraq), later on someone comes to find you, personally I was at home, someone came looking for me, I was asleep, I got dressed, I went with him to the café, at the time I had a little money, he said that there was a harqa being prepared, you needed two thousand dinars, we went to Sfax, we met the harrâq (the organiser of the operation), it needed to be prepared, prepare the fuel, the food... we prepared the gouna (this word designates the place they gathered to watch the border guards, get the weather forecast etc.), at the time there was bad weather, we waited a week, but the police were watching and they attacked us! I still had my money. I hadn’t yet given it to the harrâq”.

Other young people interviewed, a critical discourse develops about the family. Their education was inadequate, in their opinion, and they emphasise the peer group’s importance for the young person to acquire life experience and develop their personality and social skills. On this issue, M from Djerba considers that:

“society can teach you positive things, because when you’re in a strict family, trapped within four walls, and then you go out, you’re free! You don’t know what to do! But when you are out in the world you come to learn what to do and what to avoid, in addition you will spontaneously learn the people you should hang out with...some friends have taught me things that I hadn’t got from my family. Prayer, for example. My parents haven’t told me I had to pray since I was six years old!”

Life in society, according to several young people, is therefore the crucible in which their identity is forged and their knowledge is fed. S from Djerba affirms:

“For life in society, the company of others is necessary, above all, because at you cannot learn everything at home... When we are in company we learn things that we are going to pass on to our parents, above all when we sign up to associations or political parties...”

The testimonies show that the young person who is very attached to their family will be confronted by difficulties throughout their life, they will be an easy victim, a naive person. On this, F from Cité Ibn Khaldoun states: “There are young people who live the whole time in their family, they rarely go out, their parents are too afraid for them! It is true that they have everything, they are spoilt, but in the end these young people will be nothing later on! We can make them swallow anything, you can sell them something at five that is only worth two. On the street there are good and bad things! You learn how to live with others, if not the others will eat you. You have to know everything, the bad things... you have to know them but you must keep away from them. Those who don’t go out and stay at home the whole time... will be naïve, bahloul (stupid), even if they start going out on the street later on, they won’t be able to do anything!! They won’t be able to keep up on the street... They’ll miss out on a lot of things!”.

Nevertheless, the fact of recognising the importance of the street in the construction of identity does not prevent these young people from being careful where they go, because they are convinced that on the street there are risks (alcohol consumption, deviance, depravity). And they are equally aware of the distance between the values transmitted by their parents and the imperatives of social life.

On another level, the interviewees reveal another source of knowledge that is represented by youth centres and cultural centres. These institutions are educational entities that offer young people the possibility to access a wide range of recreational activities, training, raising awareness, and so on, and allow them to blossom, to express themselves, to develop their imagination. Though girls and boys do not take the same advantage of what is offered by these institutions because of the discrimination between the sexes (by the family) and parental control, the research reveals that several young people from the different regions considered have been given what they consider to be an interesting and constructive experience at youth centres. In these institutions, these young people have found a mixed space of artistic and physical expression, of civic and citizen participation. However, the majority of the interviews show that the young people are dealing with certain difficulties relating to the distortion between the family culture and the culture favoured by the youth centres. The statement given by A from Djerba, who takes dance classes, echoes this situation: “Here, before starting, parents meet the instructor, they give him their conditions, he is also Djerbian, he is strict, he always tells us during the sessions: you have to be disciplined, whoever wants to speak, or do whatever, had better do it outside the room!” This indicates that to resolve this cognitive dissonance, the instructor feels obliged to reassure parents in order that they give their children – above all the girls – permission to practice dance in a mixed space. A himself was obliged to dissemble to get his father’s consent to practice dance: “At the beginning I wanted to practice music, my father was against it, he found it haram -forbidden in religious terms-, he told me it was a path that led nowhere! But I am always curious. I want to learn new things, I chose dance. I want to have an athletic body. I wanted to do break-dancing. He resisted a little, I told him that it’s about body language, keeping fit, he has a vague idea...”

Of all the young people interviewed, it was S from Djerba who engaged most deeply with the activities offered by the youth centre. She got involved in theatre as well as signing up to the young people’s academy, which consists of forming a group in each youth centre of “young leaders”, who represent their region at various meetings, national and international. This academy gave her the opportunity to meet interesting people, to visit places, to travel and attend various discussions that have informed her on the issues of the day (women, the environment, terrorism and so on). Certainly, capitalising on these different resources, which do not always run smoothly, allows the young person to position themselves in an environment that is not necessarily permeable to a youth culture that is still perceived as a source of disorder.

Some Final Considerations

Arab Mediterranean youths are simultaneously trapped by the physical and structural realities of poor education, unemployment, and the failure of family formation, as well as by the cultural realities of societies that are quick to judge “deviant” attitudes. Whatever their class, gender, ethnic or religious origin, many young people cannot afford to start families and homes. Moreover, they cannot be fully independent and participate in the privileges and responsibilities of social adulthood associated with married status. Even if they have acquired economic independence, transition to adulthood is not complete until marriage is effective. Moreover, the social constraints for young people to achieve personal autonomy or emancipation mean the traditional markers of it in Europe, such as economic independence or living alone, are not significant variables by which to measure the transition to adulthood of Arab youths.

Seen from the outside, from a contemporary point of view, the family may be thought to be a group template, totalitarian, a pressure group, but it is also an environment of education, support and reinforcement. The young people in Tunis, Gafsa and Djerba show a marked attachment to the family, which remains their affective and social reference point and economic support. Nevertheless, they are engaged in a panoply of civic activities (cultural and artistic, such as theatre, rap, photography; community and union politics), and they act for self-realisation, self-planning and to participate in social change.

While some Arab Mediterranean youths are experimenting with new outlooks on what adulthood should “mean” in terms of personal space and property, others prefer the idea of completing their transition quickly. In both cases, however, the pivotal issue is choice: choosing to participate in the traditional family unit, and/or choosing to pursue a more individualistic worldview focusing on independence and the right to define a life plan. The economic constraints, particularly on marriage, remove the element of choice and leave youths of all persuasions reliant on their parents and family. In general, those young people arrayed to figurative cultures have an easier path to marriage than young people trying to follow a pre-figurative orientation in their decisions. Consequently, achieving adulthood and social maturity depends on the performative agency of individuals. But young people are in a framework of agency limited by social constrictions. This is an agency that is influenced but not determined by the context in which the subjects are located, which has internalised frames of reference, as well as the facts or actions of the environment that influence their own life experience. Finally, another feature of the transition from the juvenile period is temporary extension. For a large mass of young people, definitive independence is postponed along with the assumption of traditionally defined adult roles.


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[1] As Sylvie Floris remarks: “These new means [electronic social networks] exist in parallel to older networks that have long structured social interaction in Arab countries despite the control and pressure exerted by the regime in power” (Floris, 2012: 108). These social networks –physical and virtual at same time- represent a counter discourse against regimes that extend it transversally to diverse social groups, and age cohorts (Sánchez García, 2014).

[2] We are aware of the controversy raised by the term ‘Arab Spring’ to refer to the period of political change that opened, paradoxically, in the winter of 2010 in Tunisia. However, its use is justified in a communicative purpose. Academic institutions and mass media have established this term, which refers to a historical period that we do not consider closed. Moreover, two –Algeria and Lebanon- of the five selected countries for research purposes have not endured riots or uprisings.

[3] This article uses the data collected in the framework of SAHWA project focused in Tunisia. It implies an exhaustive study of the youth of five Arab Mediterranean countries: Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco and Tunisia. Using a mixed method both in the study design and in the collection and analysis of data, the results presented come from two main sources: the SAHWA Youth Survey 2016 (2017) and the SAHWA Ethnographic Fieldwork (2016). The first is a representative survey of the five countries analysed carried out between October 2015 and March 2016 on a representative sample of 2,000 citizens per country. The final data encompasses 9,860 individual observations and 842 variables (Sánchez- Montijano et al., 2017). For its part, the SAHWA Ethnographic Fieldwork carried out from April to November 2015 includes in Tunisia 4 focus groups, 6 life stories and 3 focused ethnographies was realized. To guarantee the diversity and representativeness of the sample parity of participation between men and women was established for all the research techniques used. What is more, to select the sample characteristics were considered that respect the region’s diversity, such as residence (urban and rural, considering that nearly 60% of the young people live in rural areas) and social class, which was established based on the young people’s social patterns and areas of residence.

[4] Wasta is an Arab term to describe the social network system of an individual in the different dimensions of their life. In the current situation, the role of wasta and the importance of family networks in finding good jobs or partners is normally taken for granted. In consequence, good wasta connections are a source of inclusion for young people. So while they may be perceived as negative depending on theoretical perspective of the researcher, they may also be seen as a positive social phenomenon. It is not the purpose of this paper to investigate this issue, which would require a discussion of epistemological approaches to other cultural and historical forms that differ from the Western.

[5] This term means creation a (natural) disposition, constitution, temperament, innate character, instinct (Source: Wehr, Hans. 1974. A dictionary of modern written Arabic. Beirut: Librairie du Liban). The significance of the concept of fitra to attribute deviant conducts to young people has been discussed in Gulf countries for the case of Boya’t (Nigst and Sanchez García, 2010

[6] Gafsa is one of the governorates of Tunisia, located in the southwest of the country, close to the Algerian border. This governorate comprises 11 delegations, covering 7,807 km² and, in 2016, a total population of 337,297. According to data from the National Statistics Institute. This includes 76,913 young people, aged 15 to 29, 22.82% of the population: 31,804 of these are male (9.42%) and 45,109 females (13.39%).

[7] Djerba Island is currently a transit area as a result of the Libya crisis. This island has for thousands of years hosted a diverse range of ethnic, religious, cultural and linguistic groups. This diversity developed over history as several civilisations passed through the island. Djerba is an island located in the southeast of Tunisia. In 2014, it had a population of 163,726 inhabitants behind the island’s main dynamic, has 15,114 inhabitants (24,294 inhabitants in the municipality as a whole).There are 38,975 young people aged 15 to 29 on the island, 23.80% of the population: 19,951 are male (12.18%) and 19,024 females (11.62%). In Djerba juvenile population is currently experiencing a significant migratory movement: “more than 70,000 Libyans have sought refuge in Tunisia since the start of the crisis in February, according to the Ministry of the Interior, of whom it is likely that several thousand have gone to Djerba”.


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