Introduction Ripped apart by civil war and continual political and military interventions by regional and international powers, Lebanon is an ‘unstated state [… that] has no strength and no authority’, as literary scholar Salah D. Hassan laments
Alameddine’s Appropriation of Shakespeare’s Tragedies
Promoting Transitional Justice through a Digital Memorial
Erik Van Ommering and Reem el Soussi
that they will return one day because you don’t know what his fate is … I was very attached to him When I lost him, it felt like I lost the whole world.” —Ibtehaj, whose father and two uncles disappeared during Lebanon’s civil wars, on Fushat Amal
Martyrdom and Memorials in Post–Civil War Lebanon
Are John Knudsen
Lebanon is a country awash with martyrs and they are remembered in anniversaries and memorials, revered in song and popular culture and, most visibly, reincarnated in larger-than-life posters lining roads, highways and thoroughfares demarcating
Fresh Perspectives on Protracted Crisis in Lebanon
Erik van Ommering
Even though Beirut attains top rankings among the trendiest travel destinations each year, Lebanon retains notoriety for its legacies of civil war, an unparalleled refugee crisis and vulnerability to regional conflicts and global power play. In 2016
Participatory Humanitarian Architecture in the Jarahieh Refugee Settlement, Lebanon
Riccardo Luca Conti, Joana Dabaj, and Elisa Pascucci
informal tented settlement (ITS) of Jarahieh, in the municipality of El Marj, West Bekaa, Lebanon. There, thanks to the work of two small Syrian NGOs—Jusoor and Sawa for Development Aid—over three hundred children had attended school for a year in a
Hospitality and the Categorical Imperative of LGBTQ Asylum Seeking in Lebanon and Turkey
This article argues that Northern responses to, and recognition of, LGBTQ refugees bind queer organizations in Lebanon and Turkey, which support such refugees, in a state of contradiction. This contradiction is defined both by the failure of Northern LGBTQ rights discourses to account for Southern ways of being queer, but also by the categorical imperative of hospitality, which asks that the “right” refugee appears in line with the moral, political, raced, and gendered assumptions of Northern host states. In recognizing this imperative, this article observes how queer organizations in Lebanon and Turkey navigate this contradiction by simultaneously “coaching” their beneficiaries on how to appear “credible” in line with Northern assumptions about sexual difference, while working to accommodate the alterity of those they support.
The Art of the Political Relationship in Lebanon
This article aims to analyse the patron–client relationship through a detailed ethnography of the everyday life of Walid Junblat's followers in Lebanon. It reveals how intimate people are with political figures, talking to them (in the form of their pictures), talking about them, thinking through them, playing off this intimacy to enter the political competition. Patrons also play their part in this relationship. The weekly political gatherings held at Junblat's Palace are the apex of this aesthetic of power. Detailed observations indicate how the lord orchestrates and varies the tempo of his interactions with the ritual audience, adding complexity and fluidity to the relation.
This article examines the practices of mobility and settlement of a community of Syrian Dom moving between Syria and Lebanon. I explore strategies, limitations and opportunities that defined the sphere of Dom social relations in Lebanon. While considering mainly the experience of Dom men, I argue that the scarcity of work, combined with social and political instability, affected their ability to reproduce community and family ties in Lebanon. Within these external constraints, flexibility and adaptation informed both residence patterns and the field of social interactions, which the Dom reconstituted through their cross-border mobility.
Syrian Refugees, Lebanese Society, and Unsettled Problems
Emily Regan Wills
This article departs from standard academic style to address the implications of the Syrian refugee crisis for Lebanon’s civil society, particularly with regard for solidarity across difference and the always-troubled Syria/Lebanon relationship. I adopt this style because the consequences and unfolding changes to Lebanese civil society and political practice driven by the Syrian crisis are still in progress, have uncertain outcomes, and are in a state of constant flux. The same must be said of my own knowledge and understanding of this situation, as I continue to engage in fieldwork and dialogue with actors on the ground. This article is the product of my particular place as an ethnographer at the beginning of what is likely to be years of study, as an outsider entering into a new country and city, as a policy actor with a higher education initiative for Syrian refugees and host community members in Beirut, and as an American-Canadian binational uninterested in sharpening distinctions between ‘there’ and ‘here’, neither in my own understanding nor in my scholarship. Because of the unsettled nature of the analysis in this piece, I have chosen not to arrange it as an argument supporting a single thesis. Instead, I have interwoven sections from my fieldnotes, particularly those from my trip to Beirut in May 2015, with sections that lay out, in a less personal format, the context, and elements that collectively helped shape the situation as it stands. My goal is to both document the dynamics of anxiety and rejection that surround the refugee crisis in Lebanon—where refugees are demonized in the press, targeted through bylaws aimed at ‘foreigners,’ and by denying access to basic services. My aim is to understand how the intertwined elements of Lebanese and Syrian history and politics have are creating this moment. At a time when societies around the world are gripped with fear and panic, how can the microcosm of the crisis in Lebanon give us insight into the development of xenophobic anxieties in our own societies? How does Lebanon’s proximity to the Syrian crisis make its experience reflective of global responses to uncivil times?
Lebanon’s Leviathan and Peace Expertise
The sizable amount of academic and policy-oriented literature on socio-political violence in Lebanon could be said to have rendered the country a 'prestige zone' for theorizing on the powerful image of the Leviathan, the Hobbesian idea that a secular social order is achievable only within a strong sovereign state. Building on the insights of the anthropology of the state, this article argues for the necessity of a critical assessment of contemporary expert discourses of 'state failure'. Based on archival research and anthropological fieldwork, the article addresses the metaphor of the failed Leviathan as an empirical question. Overall, it seeks to explore its productivity as an applied expert category and to highlight both the conditions of its construction and dissemination, as well as some of its particular effects.