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dc.contributor.advisorHarris, William
dc.contributor.advisorHeadley, Jim
dc.contributor.authorAboultaif, Eduardo Wassim
dc.identifier.citationAboultaif, E. W. (2016). The Development of Consociational Politics in Lebanon 1825-2015 (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy). University of Otago. Retrieved from
dc.description.abstractThe aim of this research is to interpret consociational democracy as a political framework for deeply divided societies using Lebanon as a case study. I claim that consociational practices in Lebanon are hampered by three main characteristics of the country: ethnurgy (the politicization of cultural identities), mobilization, memory and trauma. Consociationalism is affected by external factors, but I disagree with the new trend of consociational theory that puts too much emphasis on exogenous elements that promote and stabilize consociationalism. My intention is to create a balance between internal factors, represented in the characteristics of Lebanese factors and external ones, represented in the regional dimension. Consequently, these characteristics may be used to study consociational practices in other deeply divided societies. Ethnurgy is usually associated with communal mobilization. Politicization of communities in deeply divided societies means that groups will mobilize according to cultural identification in order to press forward with their demands. This sort of mobilization is dangerous because one unfortunate event may lead to civil unrest that will eventually cause the break-down of the system, and only proper consociational provisions can ease tensions and de-mobilize communities. The very presence of politicized cultural communities in a political landscape that witnesses recurrent forms of mobilization and communal violence results in the creation of memory and trauma. As a result, memory and trauma become tools that solidify cultural identification, facilitate communal mobilization, and are hidden factors in moulding a consociational political system by requiring that the system respects the memory and trauma of each community. In cases where consociational provisions do not answer the grievances of communities, these grievances might find their way into a community’s memory, and will feed into mobilization, which might lead to instability. The contribution of this research is twofold: theoretical and empirical. At the level of the consociational theory, the data shows that internal factors have more influence than regional factors in promoting or hindering consociational arrangements. Moreover, this research is the first that identifies memory and trauma as a factor in promoting or hindering consociational provisions. A legitimate consociational system needs to respect and manage not only the conflicting identities, but also the traumatic memories of groups in order to establish a stable system and avoid the possible emergence of emotionally-motivated memories that would threaten peace and coexistence. Regarding the empirical contribution, the data shows that Lebanon between 1840 and 1860 was similar to a federal system, something that has not been looked at by other researchers, and the fact that communal violence erupted in 1860 signalled the failure of such a system in Lebanon, a lesson that politicians in post-independence Lebanon did not grasp from history. On the contrary, the power sharing arrangements of 1861 which lasted until WWI reflected the success of such a system and influenced the making of a balanced system in modern Lebanon. Another empirical contribution is that the civil war occurred in Lebanon because the system was semi-consociational, that is, it had elements of a power sharing democracy but was not a full consociation. Finally, regarding today´s Lebanon, it is important to note that this research explicitly argues that Lebanon is surviving the regional turmoil because of the proper consociational arrangements represented in the Taif Accord.
dc.publisherUniversity of Otago
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dc.titleThe Development of Consociational Politics in Lebanon 1825-2015
dc.typeThesis of Politics of Philosophy of Otago
otago.openaccessAbstract Only
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