On Nostalgia

Public Talk: Nostalgia and Populisms in Contemporary Tunisia (Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law, 2020)

How does the widespread frustration that often accompanies democratic transitions shape the political cleavages underlying the party systems that emerge from them? Nine years after the 2010–11 uprising, Tunisia’s 2019 elections took place against a backdrop of widespread frustration with the party system that emerged during the ensuing transition. The elections presented opportunities to a diverse set of outsiders, many of whom brandished antiparty system messages, including unapologetic boosters of the former ruling party, a would-be plutocrat jailed on charges of corruption, and a broad set of antiparty independents. Drawing upon campaign materials and a nationally representative postelection survey, this presentation will describe the differences in the antiparty system messages and the ways that nostalgia underlies them. Through this analysis, I will consider a set of theoretical propositions arising from the literature on the dynamics of political cleavages in party systems in new democracies. 

Working Paper: “Disenchanted with Democracy?” (with Milan Svolik)

In this project, we use a conjoint experiment embedded in a nationally representative survey conducted immediately after the 2019 elections in Tunisia to understand why some voters support politicians affiliated with the formerly ruling party and to adjudicate between the strength of the appeal of the former regime and that of other candidate qualities.