The Communitarian Nation-State Paradox in Lebanon


Series: Political Science and History
BISAC: POL059000

Since the foundation of the modern consociational state of Lebanon, the country’s multi-communitarian diversity has contested the distribution of state power and its national identity. Recurring stormy struggles yielded protracted instabilities. Alternatives to power-sharing have, however, awakened fears of repressive unitarian nationalism. This book re-examines the viability of the Lebanese power-sharing arrangement in preserving plurality and providing a common vision for nationhood. Thirteen Lebanese academic scholars offer different views in addressing the paradox of building a nation-state in a multi-communitarian society.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1. The Communitarian Nation
(Imad Salamey – Political Science and International Affairs Program, Lebanese American University, Lebanon)

Chapter 2. Pluralism in Contested Nationhood: The Lebanese Predicament
(Chahine A. Ghais – Faculty of Law and Political Science, Notre Dame University (NDU), Lebanon)

Chapter 3. Politics Makes for Strange Bedfellows: Exigency and Sectarian Politics in Lebanon
(Rola El-Husseini – Department of Political Science, Lund University, Sweden)

Chapter 4. Politics of Co-Existence
(Elie Abouaoun – Middle East and North Africa Program, United States Institute of Peace, Tunisia)

Chapter 5. Electoral Systems in Divided Societies: The Case of Lebanon
(Chantal Sarkis – Stone Consultancy, Lebanon)

Chapter 6. Lebanon’s Double Movement and Pluralism
(Rana Taher – Department of Sociology and Anthropology, American University of Beirut, Lebanon)

Chapter 7. Lebanon’s Political Economy of Informality: Elites, Citizens and the State Shape Money(s) during the Sovereign Debt Crisis
(Joseph P. Helou – Department of Social Sciences, Lebanese American University, Lebanon)

Chapter 8. October 17 Uprising and the Challenge of the Dialectics of Inclusion and Exclusion
(Paul Tabar and Rasha Akel – Migration Studies Program, Lebanese American University, Lebanon)

Chapter 9. Protest Movements for Change: The October Revolution in Lebanon and the Resilient Political Establishment
(Joseph N. Bayeh – International Affairs Program, Department of International Affairs, College of Arts and Sciences, Qatar University, Doha, Qatar.)

Chapter 10. Preserving the Media Sector amid Political Polarization and Sectarian Fragmentation
(Manal Abdel Samad Najd – Ministry of Information, Lebanese Government, Lebanon)

Chapter 11. An Empirical Study of Lebanese Attitudes towards Syrian Refugees: Perception and Inclusion
(Simon Haddad)

Chapter 12. Human Security in a Divided Society
(Maria Noujaim – Faculty of Law and Political Science, Notre Dame University, Lebanon)

Chapter 13. Reconstructing the Communitarian State
(Imad Salamey – Political Science and International Affairs Program, Lebanese American University, Lebanon)

Biosketches of Contributors



The Communitarian Nation-State Paradox in Lebanon presents itself as a comprehensive critical anthology of the Lebanese consociational model. Edited by political scientist Imad Salamey, who has made major contributions to the field of Middle East politics, this book comprises twelve high profile Lebanese scholars – from diverse political, social and academic backgrounds – providing heterogeneous, but coherent, perspectives on Lebanon’s power-sharing and its related tensions that brought the country towards periodical stalemates and conflicts. Written in a clear and accessible language, this is a thoroughly researched volume and suitable for academia but also non-experts interested in Lebanon and, more broadly, MENA politics. Overall, Imad Salamey, and the other scholars, provide a timely debate through Lebanese lenses that makes the book a distinguished and much-needed contribution in a field often dominated by Western scholarship.” To read the full review, click here – Vito Morisco, Doctoral Researcher, Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies (IAIS), University of Exeter, UK

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