Reflections on Faith-Based Solidarity and Social Membership: Beyond Religion? The Case of Lebanese Shiite FBOs (January 2018)

I have recently published a study on “Caucasus International”.

During the July 2006 postwar period in Beirut’s southern suburbs (Dahiye), which were destroyed by the Israeli air force in its effort to annihilate the Lebanese Shiite party Hezbollah, the Islamic Shi‘a philanthropic sphere has been growing. It has pioneered the postwar reconstruction process and local relief provision, while diversely defining itself in relation to its secular and faith-based counterparts. This paper examines the extent to which religious providers develop solidarity with or antagonism towards provider members of the same community in times of crisis. Indeed, intracommunity solidarity among different aid providers tends to be taken for granted. Problematizing this common belief is particularly important for defining the ways in which social solidarity either develops or contracts across faith-based communities during conflict-induced displacement. In this context, aid provision and local accountability remain fundamental litmus papers. Drawing on in-depth, semi-structured interviews conducted in Dahiye from 2011 to 2013 with Lebanese Shiite faith-based organizations and private initiatives, a secular local organization, and their respective beneficiaries, this paper advances reflections on how social membership and acts of solidarity and charity interact within the Lebanese philanthropic scenario.

To read the whole article see:

Categories: Islam, Lebanon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Muslim Women” and Gender Inequality in Australia’s Assimilationist-Multicultural Policies. Participation in Sport as a Case Study

Published on “About Gender” 6 (11), 2017: 324-353.

Available online at:


When talking about Islam, the “religionization” of subjects – in particular female subjects – becomes the primary analytical tool to describe power relations within cultural groups and in multicultural societies. Likewise, religionization is widely employed in neoliberal western societies to discuss the very identity and human rights of Muslim women in relation to citizenship and migration policies. In the capacity of minority-group members, Muslim women are hardly ever addressed as fully developed agents of change and self-enfranchisement. Moreover, they tend to be reified as an aprioristically self-standing sociological category and instrument of scientific inquiry. The Australian case provides an exemplification of how both the monoculturalism of assimilationist policies adopted by several governmental mandates, and the over-celebrated multicultural policies allegedly ending racism, have ended up sanctioning the “ungovernability” of Muslims within Australian society (Hage 2011), by addressing gender inequality as an innate attribute of being a Muslim woman. In the aftermath of the 2005 Cronulla Riots, which more overtly showed the inter-ethnic conflicts of Sydney, the proposal of ending the gender inequality of “minority women” has been increasingly championed by campaigns grown in an ethnicized community environment. The article investigates – through semi-structured interviews – how Muslim women associations in Australia currently intend to approach gender inequality, and how female soccer players in two different Australian cities tell their identity work in relation to their decision of participating in sport. By fully embracing anthropologist Hage’s argument (2011), this paper confirms, first, that the antithesis between assimilationist and multicultural views is actually a false issue, in that assimilationist policies still reside at the heart of multicultural governance; second, that the antagonistic binary between “liberal host societies” and “oppressive minority cultures” is misleading, since female players’ access to Australian official matches is in practice denied by government policies rather than “minority community” culture.

Categories: Australia, Gender Equality, Islam, Sport, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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