Civil and Uncivil Violence in Lebanon: A History of the Internationalization of Communal Conflict

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In this long-awaited work, Samir Khalaf analyzes the history of civil strife and political violence in Lebanon and reveals the inherent contradictions that have plagued that country and made it so vulnerable to both inter-Arab and superpower rivalries. How did a

fairly peaceful and resourceful society, with an impressive history of viable

pluralism, coexistence, and republicanism, become the site of so much

barbarism and incivility? Khalaf argues that historically internal grievances have been magnified or deflected to become the source of international conflict. From the beginning, he shows, foreign interventions have consistently exacerbated internal problems.

Lebanon's fragmented political culture is a byproduct of two general features. First, it reflects the traditional forces and political conflicts caused by striking differences in religious beliefs and communal and sectarian loyalties that continue to split the society and reinforce its factional character. Second, and superimposed on these, are new forms of socioeconomic and cultural stress caused by Lebanon's role in the continuing international conflicts in the region.

Khalaf concludes that Lebanon is now at a crossroads in its process of political and social transformation, and proposes some strategies to re-create a vibrant civil and political culture that can accommodate profound transformations in the internal, domestic sphere as well as mediate developments taking place internationally. Throughout, Khalaf demonstrates how the internal and external currents must be considered simultaneously in order to understand the complex and tragic history of the country. This deeply considered and subtle analysis of the interplay of complex historical forces helps us to imagine a viable future not only for Lebanon but also for the Middle East as a whole.

Columbia University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Middel East Quarterly - Marius Deeb

A fascinating history of conflict in Lebanon since the early nineteenth century.

Middel East Quarterly
A fascinating history of conflict in Lebanon since the early nineteenth century.

— Marius Deeb

Middle East Policy - Bill S. Mikhail

Civil and Uncivil Violence in Lebanon makes a major contribution to the study of democratic theory.

International Journal of Middle East Studies - Akram Fouad Khater

Khalaf succeeds in crafting a narrative that is engaging, scholarly--and, perhaps most refreshing--hopeful

International Affairs

Eminently readable, with an insider feel for detail and complexity.

Middle East Policy
Civil and Uncivil Violence in Lebanon makes a major contribution to the study of democratic theory.

— Bill S. Mikhail

Oxfam Developemental Resources Review

A book which offers a sustained and original reflection upon the character and dynamics of internal conflict in Lebanon.

International Journal of Middle East Studies
Khalaf succeeds in crafting a narrative that is engaging, scholarly—and, perhaps most refreshing—hopeful

— Akram Fouad Khater

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231124775
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 9/29/2004
  • Series: History and Society of the Modern Middle East Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 1,539,572
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Samir Khalaf is professor of sociology and chair of the Center for Behavioral Research at the American University of Beirut. He is the author of many books, including Lebanon's Predicament, published by Columbia.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

I.ON PROXY WARS AND SURROGATE VICTIMSLebanon as an Ugly Metaphor!The Inside-Outside DialecticsII.THE RADICALIZATION OF COMMUNAL LOYALTIESThe Resilience of CommunalismSocial Strife and Communal ViolenceIII.THE DRIFT INTO INCIVILITYGlobalism and Uncivil WarsThe Pathologies of Protracted ViolenceThe Sanctification of CrueltyIV.PEASANTS, COMMONERS AND CLERICS: Resistance and Rebellion: 1820-1860Feudal Society of Mount LebanonNew Forms of Collective ProtestThe Uprising of 1820The Uprising of 1840The Uprising of 1857-60InferencesV.REVOLT AND COUNTER-REVOLT: Civil Strife of 1958Drift into InsurgencyEmbattled Groups and RegionsBeirutTripoliThe ChufSidonKataeb's Counter RevolutionInferencesVI.LEBANON'S GOLDEN/GILDED AGE: 1943-1975Lebanon As a "Success Story"Economic PerformanceSocial MobilizationIntellectual and Cultural AwakeningLebanon As A "Playground"VII.FROM PLAYGROUND TO BATTLEGROUND: Preludes to Civil StrifeRadicalization of Discontent and FearOutbreak of Violence: Early RoundsVIII.THE SCARES AND SCARS OF WARThe Domestication of ViolenceMultiple and Shifting Targets of HostilityThe Reterritorialization of IdentitiesThe Spaces of WarA War SystemThe Magnitude of Trauma and StressPost-war BarbarismRetribalizationFamilismCommunalismConfessionalismXI.FROM SHAKIB EFFENDI TO TA'IFThe Partition Scheme of 1843The Règlement Organique of 1861The State of Greater Lebanon, 1920The National Covenant of 1943The Ta'if Accord of 1990X.PROSPECTS FOR CIVILITYMemory, Space and IdentityThe Cultures of Disappearance and ResistanceThe Social Technologies of PacificationProspects for the Restoration of Civility

Columbia University Press

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