Europe is not like you see on TV! Ramadan drama as a platform of education on Harga in Tunisia

Omar Sayfo*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

The increase in clandestine migrants to Italy following the 2010 Tunisian uprising has been an issue of popular and political concern in both countries. This article investigates Harga (2021, 2022), a top-rated and critically acclaimed drama series. Produced and aired by Tunisian national television as a vehicle of entertainment-education, Harga strove to make a geopolitical intervention in the process of irregular migration. Combining textual analysis with interviews conducted with the production’s producers and participants, the article explores how local and transnational actors came together to create a counternarrative to the popular success stories of clandestine migrants. This approach contributes to a better understanding of the relationship between media and socio-cultural and political dynamics as well as of their effect on formulating mediated narratives on clandestine migration. Due to Harga’s documentarist depiction of the social and political driving forces behind irregular migration and its open criticism of Tunisian authorities, the show is investigated within the framework of post-uprising Tunisia’s mediascape, and domestic and international political environment. In this regard, it offers a good case study for examining how local politics, transnationalism, and postcolonialism are intertwined in formulating discourses on irregular migration.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMedia, Culture and Society
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Mar 2024

Keywords

  • clandestine migration
  • entertainment-education
  • Harga
  • irregular migration
  • musalsal
  • soap opera
  • television
  • Tunisia

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