Europe and the Mediterranean Focus Freedom of expression Human rights, identity and citizenship Mediterranean and Middle East Social inclusion and fight against discriminations

The EU’s Democracy, Human Rights and Resilience Discourse and Its Contestation

Authors: Pacello, Maria Cristina, Huber Daniela, Kerrou M., Nouira A


The paper will first provide a background analysis, based on a critical review of the discourses of the EU and other key international and regional players, discursive positions of civil society actors (including at this stage only documents produced by civil
society networks which span the Mediterranean) and the academic discourse. The aim is not only to de-construct the EU’s own discourse on democracy, human rights and now resilience; it also juxtaposes it to the discourse of other top-down and bottom-up actors. The academic
discourse produced in Europe takes a specific role in this overall picture as it generally sits within the larger EU discourse, even though a critical literature is emerging which resists this discourse. It is to this latter literature that this work package seeks to contribute. The second
and third parts of this paper, therefore, depart from the Euro-centrism of the literature in two ways. First, the second part gives an introductory overview on the central role played by civil society in the Arab uprisings and beyond. Unfortunately, very little is known in the literature
about how individual and civil society actors based in the four country case studies perceive their own role in their countries and which political ideas they are promoting for their countries.
The third part of this paper, therefore, outlines a methodology aimed at filling this gap by conducting discourse analysis of relevant documents produced by a selected number of civil society actors in such countries, and conducting recursive interviews with these stakeholders.