Date of Graduation

Winter 12-18-2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in International Studies (MAIS)


College of Arts and Sciences


International Studies

First Advisor

Stephen Zunes

Second Advisor

Lindsay Gifford


The self-immolation of Mohammed Bouazizi ignited the revolution that would oust Tunisian dictator Ben Ali in 2011. The momentum of the revolution in Tunisia spread ideas, tactics, and revolutionary chants across borders to various parts of the globe. The speed and intensity of the revolution dominated the attention of the unsuspecting global community. In order to understand the conditions under which this revolution transpired, I use Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri's theory of Empire to show how the contemporary global system functions. Through the historical development of Tunisia and concurrent rise of Empire emerges "the multitude," the heterogeneous manifestation of "the people," the labor source and foundation of Empire. The Tunisian revolution highlights the emergence of "the multitude." Moreover, the Tunisian revolution exemplifies the role of "the multitude" to challenge the structure of Empire and its exigencies. What emerges from this analysis is an understanding of the contemporary functions of society, their impact, and ultimately, the means by which "the multitude" can challenge the structure of Empire as a means to rectify injustices and inequalities in the world.