Author: Cyrine Ghannouchi

Advocates of a social contract approach to social protection consider that social protection has been core to the legitimacy and sustainability of any political project, even if the latter does not offer a space for political participation. Historically, the post-independence state-building phase in Arab countries such as Egypt, Tunisia, or Algeria, generously validated this stance as the state positioned itself as the provider for, and protector of, societies, which helped freshly formed governing systems to quickly gain legitimacy for imposed regimes. The social policy of the state overall sustained adherence to a basic social contract (of subordination): the state provides, the people obey. This does not mean that post-independence social policies in the region did not score positive achievements in their early years, but it is important today to reflect on those “success stories” by unpacking their political motivations, locally and globally.

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