Tunisia/ 4.2 Specific policy issues and recent debates  

4.2.8 Social cohesion and cultural policies

Culture was heavily promoted in official political advertising as a factor in social cohesion, in addition to the values of family solidarity; however in practice, as a result of the de facto strong influence of the family on social cohesion in Tunisian society, the culture continues to play a very marginal role in the government's strategy for this axis of interest.

Besides its role in supporting national identity, cultural policy for social cohesion has mainly targeted people with a disability. Lawmakers have made great efforts to integrate this group in the society and asserted their right of access to culture, as an essential element of the State strategy for their integration in social life. During the last decade, plans for renewal and renovation of archaeological sites and museums included architectural specifications for the purpose of facilitating the movement of persons with disabilities: i.e. Inclusion of special paths to wheelchairs, Braille stickers and signs, free entry to museums and sites, grants for associations of disabled persons to organize events, cultural activities, and prizes for cultural activities performed  by persons with disabilities.

Social cohesion is not an issue of ethnic minorities in Tunisia, as Berber and Jewish communities do not have any specific demands and immigration is not present in Tunisia.

Nevertheless, the political and social changes after 2011 have generated some sort of need to strengthen social cohesion between communities in order to reduce conflicts and social antagonism that appeared due to new political and social tensions.  Culture can play a new role in disseminating the values of citizenship and peaceful coexistence, which represents the new element in novel initiatives by several new associations.

Chapter published: 05-05-2015