Great home-spectations: “Houses-to-be”, marginality, and social expectations in Southern Tunisia
In the mining town of Redeyef (south-western Tunisia), “modern” homes and building techniques bear the signs of a history of marginalization, inequality, and lack of resources. Here, power produced specific mode of living and territorial organization. The article will describe three different homes: the little studio I lived in between 2014 and 2015 during my fieldwork research, the “mansion” that a young man living in Redeyef had been erecting for himself, and the house a man erected for his son. These examples will help to shed light on the extent to which the colonial past, the political economy of independent Tunisia, and the current lack of any urban planning interweave to create the conditions of a disadvantaged and precarious life, especially for the young men, who build their houses to accomplish social expectations about adulthood. Despite the lack of resources, the people of Redeyef try to make their dwellings the symbol of a (hoped, even though almost impossible) social acceptance.
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