In this article, Adrien Doron looks at the routes taken, downstream of the global import route, by the flow of goods made in China supplying the markets of Tunis.
He underlines the ancient structuring and progressive globalisation of a plurality of supply options that make it possible to bypass the country’s customs barriers. These offshoots of the global route were temporarily abandoned in favour of politico-economic arrangements encouraging direct imports under the regime of President Ben Ali. Since 2011, they have been reactivated and recomposed by traders to cope with the difficulties arising from the change of regime and to ensure the continuity of supplies.
The Tunisian case allows, concludes the author, “to shed light on the reactivity and adaptability of the supply networks of globalisation from below. It also underlines the methodological interest of a diachronic approach that reveals not only the process of structuring the trade route, but also that of the opportunities, in other words, the options of routes and business relations that are sometimes old, abandoned for a time, but which keep their potential ready to be reactivated in case of difficulty. And this potential is anchored in the memory and experience of the actors.
The Tunisian revolution thus acts as an accelerator and as a means of setting these changes in motion and making them visible, even more than it reveals the political dimension of the arrangements and bypasses used by the ramifications of the trade routes. The crisis thus constitutes an opportune moment to analyse the social and spatial arrangements and the political and economic arrangements that make up the strength and resilience of the transnational market economies of the globalisation of the poor.
Adrien DORON is a lecturer at the Université de Paris Cité. His research focuses on globalization(s) (transnational trade and financial routes and circulations); migration and entrepreneurial mobilities; networks and territorialities, social and spatial networks, ethnographic approach to network analysis; cities, markets, borders, margins. His main fields of investigation are the Mediterranean and North Africa.
Read also, by the same author :
Ben Gardane (Tunisia): a financial centre for the globalisation of the poor. Africa(s) on the move n° 4. Dossier “Une mondialisation discrète. Circulating in Africa: actors, routes, networks and goods” coordinated by Anne Bouhali and Saïd Belguidoun. Editions Université de Rabat, April 2022, n°4, p. 46-56