The European Union and neoliberal governmentality: Twinning in Tunisia and Egypt

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Series Details Vol.21, No.3, September 2015, p672-690
Publication Date September 2015
ISSN 1354-0661
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As a response to the Arab uprisings that started in 2010, the European Union has emphasised, more determinated than ever, the urgency of inclusive and sustainable socio-economic development in the Arab region. The central objective of this article is to understand the nature and operation of European Union support for development following Arab mass movements. More specifically, it examines the European Union’s Twinning instrument in Egypt and Tunisia through a neoliberal governmentality framework, with a major focus on visualisations, technologies and subject formation. This approach enables us to observe the application of an agenda through which Twinning intervenes into non-economic domains of governance in the target countries and aims at shaping these spheres by economic rationalities and techniques. By constructing change around local governance capabilities, the Twinning programme acts upon individual skills, institutional arrangements and relationships, deploys benchmarking techniques, and empowers subjects and government behaviour in order to bring conduct to certain economic logics and exercises. The outcome is the rendering of Tunisian and Egyptian socio-economic development open to enterprise-based, calculative and professionalised operations that make local conditions serviceable to neoliberal governing patterns, linkages and practices of business, capital production and investment.

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