Centre Interdisciplinaire de Recherche sur l'Afrique et le Moyen-Orient

Dr. Fabio Merone

Dr. Fabio Merone

Consultant indépendant

Ghent University (Belgium)


Edited book :

  • Salafism after the Arab Awakening. Contending with people’s power (with F. Cavatorta), London: Hurst, 2017. 

Journal articles :

  • Sunni ideology, contention and the Islamic State in Iraq’, PArtecipazione e Conflitto, forthcoming.
    ‘Analyzing revolutionary Islamism: Ansār al-Sharia Tunisia according to Gramsci‘, Journal of North African Studies, 25 (5) 2020, pp.1-22.

  • ‘Between social contention and takfirism: the evolution of the Salafi-jihadi movement in Tunisia’, Mediterranean Politics 22 (1), 2017, pp. 71-90.

  • ‘Local (r)evolutions in times of democratic transition: Reconstructing political authority in Tunisian municipalities (2011-2014)’ (with F. Volpi & C. Loschi), Middle East Journal 70 (3), 2016, pp. 365-381.

  • ‘The new Islamic middle class and the struggle for hegemony in Tunisia’ (with D. De Facci), Afriche e Orienti 27 (1/2), 2015, pp. 56-69.

  • ‘Post-Islamism, ideological evolution and ‘la tunisianité’ of the Tunisian Islamist party al-Nahda’ (with F. Cavatorta), Journal of Political Ideologies 20 (1), 2015, pp. 27-42.

  • ‘Enduring class struggle: beyond Political Islam and the fight for identity’, British Journal of Middle East Studies 42 (1), 2015, pp. 74-87.

  • ‘Salafist mouvance and sheikhism in the Tunisian democratic transition’ (with F. Cavatorta), Middle East Law and Governance 5 (3), 2013, pp. 308-330.

  • ‘Tunisian Salafism between institutional politics, dawa and jihadism’, (with F. Cavatorta), Orient 54 (3), 2013, pp. 25-29.

  • ‘Moderation through exclusion? The journey of Tunisian Ennahda from fundamentalist to conservative party’, (with F. Cavatorta), Democratization 20 (5), 2013, pp. 857-875.

  • ‘The rise of Salafism in Tunisia: challenges and opportunities for democratization’, (with F. Cavatorta & S. Torelli), Middle East Policy 19 (4), 2012, pp. 140-154.

Book chapters :

  • ‘Post-Islamism Politics in Tunisia: Ennahda’s Evolution Since the Revolution’. In Mohamad Zayani (eds), The Liminal State: Tunisia in the Aftermath of the Arab Spring, Forthcoming.

  • ‘Nahda and Tunisian Islamic activism’(with E. Sigillò & D. de Facci). In Shahram Akbarzadeh and Dara Conduit (eds.), New Opposition in the Middle East, London: Palgrave MacMillan, 2018.

  • ‘Islamist Parties and Transformation in Tunisia and Morocco’ (with F. Cavatorta). In Osama Abi-Mershed (ed.) Social currents in North Africa, London: Hurst, 2018.

  • ‘Islamismo e processi sociali: la Tunisia post-rivoluzionaria.’ In Laura Guazzone (ed.) Storia ed evoluzione dell’Islamismo nei paesi arabi. I Fratelli musulmani e gli altri, Milano: Mondadori Education, 2015.

  • ‘Ansar al-charia Tunisie : une institutionalisation à la croisée des chemins’ (with M. B. Ayari). In Michel Camau and Frédéric Vairel (eds.) Soulèvements et recompositions politiques dans le monde arabe, Montreal: Presse de l’Université de Montreal, 2014.

  • ‘The political and social landscape of Tunisia before and after the Arab Spring’ (with F. Cavatorta). In Rosita di Peri and Raffaella Giordana (eds.) Revolution Without Revolutions, Bologna: Emil, 2013.

  • ‘The rise of Salafism and the future of democratization’ (with F. Cavatorta). In Nouri Gana (ed.) The making of the Tunisian revolution, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2013.

Selected talks and conferences :

  • ‘Tunisia in the Aftermath of the Arab Uprisings: Working Group II.’ CIRS Georgetown University. Doha (Qatar), June 22-29, 2020. (zoom meeting)

  • ‘Tunisia in the Aftermath of the Arab Uprisings: Working Group I.’ CIRS Georgetown University. Doha (Qatar), November 10-11, 2019.

  • ‘Ansar al-sharia: an Islamist Salafist movement.’ Rethinking methodological approaches to Islamic movements, European University Institute. Florence (Italy), 29-30 April 2019.

  • ‘Salafi Jihadism as a Revolutionary Leadership.’ International seminar on “Violence and exiting violence”, Dabran Platform and Maison des Sciences de l’Homme. Sulaymaniyya (Iraq), 17-19 January 2019.

  • ‘Between Salafism, Sectarianism and violence.’ IPEV (International panel on exiting violence) – American University of Beirut. Third round conference, Beirut (Lebanon), 20-21 June 2018.

  • ‘A Gramscian approach to Islamism: the case of Ansar al-Sharia.’ International seminar: “Gramsci in the Arab World”. Università degli studi di Bari, Bari (Italy), 30 November-1 December, 2017.

  • ‘The political Salafiya – Powerful enough to displace the Muslim Brotherhood?’ Workshop: “Who speaks for Political Islam? Islamist and Salafist Political Actors and the Relevance of Transnational Networks.” GIGA Research platform, Berlin (Germany), 13 November, 2017.

  • ‘Rise and fall of Ansar al-Sharia Tunisia.’ IPEV (International panel on exiting violence). Second round conference, Tunis, 3-4 July, 2017

  • ‘H. Djaït et la révolution tunisienne?’ Seminar : “Pensée arabe séculariste et modèles politiques”. CISMOC, Louvain la-Neuve (Belgium), 23 May, 2017.

  • ‘Salafism and democratization in Tunisia.’ Seminar on Tunisia with Rory McCarthy and Michael Willis. Saint Antony’s College, Oxford University, Oxford (United Kingdom), 27 March, 2017.

  • ‘Evolution du djihadisme international et processus de radicalisation.’ Summer School CISMOC “Islam et mondes contemporains, une approche multidisciplinaire”, UCL (Catholic University of Louvain), Louvain la-Neuve (Belgium), 26 August, 2016.

  • ‘The salafi-jihadi movement: from social movement to struggle.’ Seminar: “Regime Transformation and the Recomposition of Elites in the Arab World after 2010-2011. A Comparative Approach”, Tunis (Tunisia), 20-22 October, 2016.

  • ‘Ansar al-Sharia, a jihadi social movement.’ Seminar: “Tunisia a geography of revolt, Transformatntion and Intervention”, IMéRA, Aix-Marseille University – Marseille (France), 3 June, 2016.

  • ‘The international Jihadi movement after the Arab uprisings.’ Public lecture at Ghent University, Ghent (Belgium) with Sami Zemni, 19 April, 2016.

  • ‘Ansar al-Charia Tunisie et l’évolution du mouvement djihadiste.’ Séminaire CISMOC, Université UCL – Louvain la-Neuve (Belgium), 16 March, 2016.

  • ‘Ansar al-sharia and the evolution of the jihadi movement.’ Seminar “Women’s rights and the jihadi movement in the Tunisian transition”, ACMES (Amsterdam Center for Middle East Studies), Amsterdam (The Netherlands), 29 January, 2016.

  • ‘Islamists in Government – A category apart?’ Workshop “Dynamics of Transformation, Elite Change and New Social Mobilization in the Arab World. Analysis and Policy Implications”, Research Division Middle East and Africa, Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP), Berlin (Germany), 15-16 October, 2015.

  • ‘Relevance and future of political Islam in Tunisia’, Workshop “The future of Political Islam”, Research Division Middle East and Africa, Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP). Berlin (Germany), 18 March, 2015.

  • ‘Eclairage sur le pragmatisme islamiste en Tunisie.’ Conference “Pouvoirs et contre-pouvoirs : reconfiguration géopolitique au Moyen Orient”, Observatoire sur le Moyen-Orient et l’Afrique du Nord, Montréal (Canada), 18 February, 2015.

  • ‘Etat sécuritaire et islamisme dans la Tunisie en transition.’ Conference “Political Islam in the Middle East and the Sahel”, Institute of International Studies, Université Laval, Québec City (Canada), 28 November, 2014.

  • ‘Enduring class struggle: beyond Political Islam and the fight for identity.’ Conference “media in political transition across the Southern Mediterranean, from Turkey to Morocco.”, Al Jazeera Centre of Studies Media project, Cambridge University (United Kingdom), 15-16 July, 2014.

  • ‘The structuration of Ansar al-Sharia’s project.’ jihadi Salafism in Tunisia”, Center for Strategic Studies, Carthage (Tunisia), 20 June, 2014.

  • ‘Ansar al Sharia: from social movement to terroristic group.’ Workshop “Explaining and understanding Islamism in the wake of the Arab Uprisings”, CASAW- AHRC, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh (Scotland, United Kingdom), 15 February, 2014.

  • ‘Shaping the conflict and the emergence of Ansar al-Sharia Tunisia.’ International Conference “Bringing People back in Politics: The role of civil society Organizations and Political Parties in a Post-Arab Spring context”, Prince Al Hussein bin Abdullah II School of International Studies (University of Jordan) and Center for Contemporary Middle Eastern Studies (University of Southern Denmark), Amman (Jordan), 6-8 April, 2014.

University of Ghent, Department of Language and Cultures & Department of Conflict and Development

  • Single taught courses and course designer (2017-2019)
    Islam (1st year undergraduate)
    Power and Politics in contemporary Arab countries (Master)
    Political Islam (Master)
  • Dissertation supervision (2017-2019)
  • 6 final year undergraduate thesis and 2 Master thesis


Laval University, / Institute for International Studies

Les enjeux sécuritaires en Afrique du Nord (Master) — Visiting Lecturer (2015)

  • PhD in Political Science (2017), Ghent University (Belgium).

  • Laurea Lunga in Political Science (2000), Naples University “Orientale” (Italy).

  • D.E.A en Sciences Politiques, (1998), Bordeaux University (France).


Autres activités professionnelles
  • Peer review activities

Book reviewer:

  • 1 Manuscript review for “I.B. Tauris” .
  • 1 Book review for “Columbia University Press” (Aaron Y. Zelin, “Your sons are at your service. Tunisia’s missionaries of jihad”,  2020)

Journal reviewer for:

British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Mediterranean Politics, Journal of North African studies, Qualitative Research Revue (original in French Revue recherche qualitative), Insight Turkey, Journal of Church and State, African Security review, Third World Quarterly, Middle East Law and Governance.

  • Consultancy/advising

Italian Embassy Tunisia

French Embassy Tunisia

British Embassy Tunisia

Swiss embassy Tunisia 

  • Media activities

Policy Reports and op eds

Never-ending reformism from above and dissatisfaction from below:
the paradox of Moroccan post-spring politics
’ (with Francesco Cavatorta) discussion paper German Development Institute (DIA), 16/2020. https://ideas.repec.org/p/zbw/diedps/162020.html

‘Politicians or preachers? What Ennahda’s transformation means for Tunisia’ Carnegie Middle East Center, January 31, 2019. https://carnegie-mec.org/2019/01/31/politicians-or-preachers-what-ennahda-s-transformation-means-for-tunisia-pub-78253

‘Inheritance reform could threaten Tunisia’s democratization process’ The GlobePost, September 16, 2018. https://theglobepost.com/2018/09/16/inheritance-reform-tunisia/

‘Further notes on the evolution of the international jihadi mouvement’ openDemocracy, April 6, 2015.


‘Explaining the jihadi threat in Tunisia’ openDemocracy, March 21, 2015. https://opendemocracy.net/arab-awakening/fabio-merone/explaining-jihadi-threat-in-tunisia

‘The multiple trajectories of Tunisian Islamism’ (with F. Volpi), June 2014, A CASAW- AHRC People Power and State Power Network Report, “Islamism and The Arab Spring”.


‘The Islamist movements in transition’, November 5, 2013, Mediterraneo & Medio Oriente, No. 206.


‘Tunisia: the Islamic associative system as a social counter-power’ (with E. Soli) openDemocracy, October 22, 2013.


‘Tunisia and the divided Arab Spring’, openDemocracy, August 9, 2013.


‘Salafism in Tunisia: an interview with a member of Ansar al-Sharia’, Jadaliyya, April 11, 2013.


‘A party in transition in a country in a transition? The internal politics of al-Nahda’, (with F. Cavatorta),  Jadaliyya march 25, 2013.


‘The Emergence of Salafism in Tunisia’, (with F. Cavatorta), Jadaliyya, August 18, 2012. http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/6934/the-emergence-of-salafism-in-tunisia

Newspaper articles (selection)

‘Ansar al-sharia and the war against terrorism’, March, 10, 2014.


‘One last chance for Ansar al-Sharia in Tunisia’, August, 20, 2013.


‘Tunisia, i ragazzi di Menzel Bouzaiane’ (transl. Tunisia, the youth of Menzel Bouzaine), August, 17 2011.

http://nena-news.globalist.it/Detail_News_Display?ID=21475HYPERLINK « http://nena-news.globalist.it/Detail_News_Display?ID=21475&typeb=0&17-08-2011–TUNISIA-I-RAGAZZI-DI-MENZEL-BOUZAIANE »&HYPERLINK « http://nena-news.globalist.it/Detail_News_Display?ID=21475&typeb=0&17-08-2011–TUNISIA-I-RAGAZZI-DI-MENZEL-BOUZAIANE »typeb=0HYPERLINK « http://nena-news.globalist.it/Detail_News_Display?ID=21475&typeb=0&17-08-2011–TUNISIA-I-RAGAZZI-DI-MENZEL-BOUZAIANE »&HYPERLINK « http://nena-news.globalist.it/Detail_News_Display?ID=21475&typeb=0&17-08-2011–TUNISIA-I-RAGAZZI-DI-MENZEL-BOUZAIANE »17-08-2011–TUNISIA-I-RAGAZZI-DI-MENZEL-BOUZAIANE

‘Ennahdha, il rinnovamento può attendere’ (transl. Ennahdha, renewal can wait’) July 31, 2012.

http://nena-news.globalist.it/Detail_News_Display?ID=31414HYPERLINK « http://nena-news.globalist.it/Detail_News_Display?ID=31414&typeb=0&31-07-2012–Ennahda–il-rinnovamento-puo-attendere »&HYPERLINK « http://nena-news.globalist.it/Detail_News_Display?ID=31414&typeb=0&31-07-2012–Ennahda–il-rinnovamento-puo-attendere »typeb=0HYPERLINK « http://nena-news.globalist.it/Detail_News_Display?ID=31414&typeb=0&31-07-2012–Ennahda–il-rinnovamento-puo-attendere »&HYPERLINK « http://nena-news.globalist.it/Detail_News_Display?ID=31414&typeb=0&31-07-2012–Ennahda–il-rinnovamento-puo-attendere »31-07-2012–Ennahda–il-rinnovamento-puo-attendere

‘Tunisia, mobilitazione contro USA’ (transl. Tunisia, anti-US mobilisation) September 14, 2012.

http://nena-news.globalist.it/Detail_News_Display?ID=34594HYPERLINK « http://nena-news.globalist.it/Detail_News_Display?ID=34594&typeb=0&14-09-2012–Tunisia-mobilitazione-contro-Usa »&HYPERLINK « http://nena-news.globalist.it/Detail_News_Display?ID=34594&typeb=0&14-09-2012–Tunisia-mobilitazione-contro-Usa »typeb=0HYPERLINK « http://nena-news.globalist.it/Detail_News_Display?ID=34594&typeb=0&14-09-2012–Tunisia-mobilitazione-contro-Usa »&HYPERLINK « http://nena-news.globalist.it/Detail_News_Display?ID=34594&typeb=0&14-09-2012–Tunisia-mobilitazione-contro-Usa »14-09-2012–Tunisia-mobilitazione-contro-Usa

‘Intervista. Hassen Ben Brik: Stato islamico non con la forza…per ora’ (transl. Interview with Hassen Ben Brik: Islamic state but not through violence…for now), September 24, 2012.  http://nena-news.globalist.it/Detail_News_Display?ID=35486HYPERLINK « http://nena-news.globalist.it/Detail_News_Display?ID=35486&typeb=0&24-09-2012–Intervista-Hassan-Ben-Brik-Stato-islamico-non-con-la-forza–per-ora-« &HYPERLINK « http://nena-news.globalist.it/Detail_News_Display?ID=35486&typeb=0&24-09-2012–Intervista-Hassan-Ben-Brik-Stato-islamico-non-con-la-forza–per-ora-« typeb=0HYPERLINK « http://nena-news.globalist.it/Detail_News_Display?ID=35486&typeb=0&24-09-2012–Intervista-Hassan-Ben-Brik-Stato-islamico-non-con-la-forza–per-ora-« &HYPERLINK « http://nena-news.globalist.it/Detail_News_Display?ID=35486&typeb=0&24-09-2012–Intervista-Hassan-Ben-Brik-Stato-islamico-non-con-la-forza–per-ora-« 24-09-2012–Intervista-Hassan-Ben-Brik-Stato-islamico-non-con-la-forza–per-ora-


Le Monde (France); Le Figaro (France); New York Times (USA); BBC News 24 online (UK); Espresso (Italy); Il Sole 24ore (Italy); Swiss Italian Radio.


Subventions et bourses d'études

Baillet Latour Foundation (Belgium). PhD scholarship department of Conflict and Development – Middle East & North Africa Research Group (MENARG), Ghent University (Belgium). For Joint project between Ghent University (UGent) and the Catholique University of Louvain (UCL) on ‘Contemporary Islam’ (2016-2018), Ghent (BL).

Funding €150.000 per 3 years.

Gerda Henkel Foundation (Germany). Security, Society, and the State Programme. PhD scholarship (co-applicant with Prof. Frederic Volpi). ‘Tunisia as a Secure State’ (2014-2016). Funding €100,000.


Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Netherlands).Research  workshop: Salafism after the Arab Awakening (2013-2014). Funding €45,000.


Gerda Henkel Foundation (Germany). European project on the “development of political Islam after the Arab spring” (2012-2014), named researcher of Professor Francesco Cavatorta. Research fellowship. Funding €55,000.