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Winking at Humanitarian Neutrality: The Liminal Politics of the State in Lebanon (June, 2019)

What does it happen when local residents of the Beirut southern suburbs speak of the Lebanese state offering Lebanon “on a silver tray” and Syrian refugees in the northern region of Akkar mention the Lebanese state as a repressive political actor allied with supposedly neutral humanitarian agencies which manage their everyday life?

In this article, just published in the main Canadian Anthropological journal Anthropologica 61(1): 83-96 (University of Toronto Press), I rethink liminality in anthropology and I identify in liminality the behavioural politics of the Lebanese state, whose enmity is perceived by refugees and local citizens, both frustrated by failed attempts at befriending the central state throughout Lebanon’s history.

Here below you can find the abstract in English and French, as well as the link from where to access my article.

Abstract: Drawing on the July 2006 Israel–Lebanon War in Beirut’s southern suburbs and the Syrian refugee influx into the villages of Akkar in northern Lebanon, I suggest that the Lebanese state aspires to officially assert itself as a liminal space in a bid to survive crises and preserve its political capital, therefore aborting the attempts made by citizens and refugees to leave such liminality. I look at how professed state liminality meets with humanitarian neutrality, which is a principle of several international humanitarian agencies that assisted the internally displaced in 2006 and Syrian refugees from 2011 in Lebanon. Although in anthropology liminality has mostly been approached as anti-structural and an embodiment of the mar-gins, by proceeding from people’s perception of state enmity and their frustrated aspirations to befriend the state, I suggest that state liminality rather captures the structural peculiarity of the Lebanese state’s agency and violent presence, made of repressive and neglectful politics.

Keywords: refugees, Lebanon, humanitarianism, welfare, NGOs

Résumé : Partant de la guerre israélo-libanaise de juillet 2006 dans la banlieue sud de Beyrouth et de l’afflux de réfugiés syriens dans les villages du Akkar au nord du Liban, j’émets l’hypothèse que l’État libanais cherche à s’affirmer officielle-ment comme espace liminaire afin de survivre aux crises et de préserver son capital politique, faisant ainsi échec aux efforts de citoyens et de réfugiés pour quitter cette liminarité. J’exa-mine l’intersection de la liminarité étatique proclamée et de la neutralité humanitaire, ce dernier principe étant mis en avant par de nombreuses agences humanitaires internationales qui ont assisté les déplacés internes en 2006 et qui accompagnent les réfugiés syriens au Liban depuis 2011. Si en anthropologie la liminarité est généralement abordée comme un phénomène anti-structurel et comme une incarnation des marges, je m’ap-puie sur la perception qu’ont les gens de l’inimitié étatique et de leurs aspirations frustrées à se rapprocher de l’État pour avancer que la liminarité étatique permet plutôt d’appréhender la particularité structurelle de l’agencéité et de la présence violente propres à l’État libanais, lesquelles sont marquées par une politique conjointe de répression et d’abandon.

Mots clés : réfugiés, Liban, humanitaire, protection sociale, ONG

https://www.utpjournals.press/doi/abs/10.3138/anth.2018-0006?journalCode=anth

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Categories: Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Local Faith Actors in Disaster Response and Risk Reduction – ALNAP Webinar

Southern Responses to Displacement

What happens when international agencies intervene without knowledge of the historical, geographical, or relational contexts of the area? Should engagement with and use of local faith leaders as intermediaries become standardised within international aid provision? In March 2019 our Research Associate Dr Estella Carpi participated in a seminar organised by ALNAP-Overseas Development Institute and the Joint Learning Initiative on Faith and Local Communities (JLI). During the webinar, Estella discussed her findings from many years’ fieldwork in northern Lebanon where, within the broader framework of the Southern Responses project, she examined the opportunities and challenges of the increasing participation of local faith leaders in international humanitarian programming.

If you find this piece of interest please visit the recommended reading list at the end of this post.

This blog was posted on 24th May 2019 

Local Faith Actors in Disaster Response and Risk Reduction – ALNAP Webinar

By Estella Carpi, Southern Responses…

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Intervista a RadioBlackout (May, 2019)

lo spettro dei rifugiati sulla crisi libanese

lo spettro dei rifugiati sulla crisi libanese

Scritto da su 11 Maggio 2019

Dall’inizio della guerra civile siriana i libanesi hanno assistito a un vero e proprio esodo di profughi verso il proprio Paese. Il Libano è grande come l’Abruzzo, ha una popolazione di quattro milioni e mezzo di persone e ospita un milione e mezzo di siriani che si aggiungono ai 250 mila palestinesi, e alle migliaia di persone arrivate negli ultimi anni da Etiopia, Filippine, Bangladesh e Sri Lanka già presenti sul territorio. Il Libano non ha firmato la convenzione di Ginevra, dunque non riconosce lo status di rifugiato. Assimilare un milione e mezzo di siriani nella società libanese non è pensabile, anche perché il Libano deve fare i conti con una situazione economica che va peggiorando, il 30 per cento dei cittadini vive in condizioni di estrema povertà, in un Paese che stenta a garantire elettricità 24 ore al giorno.

Nel frattempo, il malcontento tra i libanesi continua a crescere e i rifugiati sono spesso additati come la causa principale della tragica situazione economica che sta mettendo in ginocchio l’intero Paese. La pressione per rimandare i rifugiati in Siria è sempre più forte, sempre più frequenti i casi di incendi dolosi negli insediamenti informali.

Il fenomeno migratorio è stato finora regolato dalla discussa legge Kafala, un sistema di controllo diffuso nei paesi del Golfo che permette ai governi di delegare la supervisione e la responsabilità dei migranti a compagnie o privati cittadini, concedendogli una serie di poteri legali. Una volta entrati nel Paese, ai lavoratori viene ritirato il passaporto, la loro permanenza legale è strettamente vincolata al contratto stipulato con la compagnia che li ha ingaggiati, senza il cui permesso la possibilità di movimento è praticamente nulla.

In collegamento dal Libano Estella Carpi, antropologa sociale dell’University College of London, si occupa di migrazione forzata, assistenza umanitaria e politiche dell’identità nel Levante arabo e in Turchia.

 

Categories: Arab Gulf, Golfo Arabo, Lebanon, Libano, Siria, Syria, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Dr. Estella Carpi lecture at the Lebanese American University: The Effect of Displacement on Religious Authorities from Syria

Southern Responses to Displacement

In March 2019 Dr. Estella Carpi, Research Associate of the Southern Responses to Displacement project, gave a lecture entitled ‘The Displacement of Religious Authorities from Syria and their Involvement in Aid Provision:  Looking Beyond Humanitarianism’ at the Lebanese American University.  There she presented preliminary findings of the Southern Responses to Displacement project and drew on her longstanding research into faith-based organizations and faith leaders working in Syria. In this post, Fidaa Al Fakih, Research and Project Assistant at the Lebanese American University, summarises Dr. Carpi’s lecture.  You can access the slides for this lecture here: DRAFS_Estella Carpi LAU Byblos March 27 2019

This blog was posted on 29/04/2019

If you find this piece of interest please visit our recommended reading list at the end of this post.

Beyond Humanitarianism Paradigm: The Effect of Displacement on Religious Authorities

By Fidaa Al Fakih

Lebanese American University’s (LAU’s) Institute for Social Justice and Conflict Resolution…

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My lecture at the Lebanese American University (March, 2019)

http://sas.lau.edu.lb/institutes/isjcr/news/index.php#69387

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Beyond Humanitarianism Paradigm: The Effect of Displacement on Religious Authorities

posted on 10/04/2019

isjcr-carpi-seminar.jpg

By Fidaa Al Fakih

LAU’s Institute for Social Justice and Conflict Resolution (ISJCR) and the Department of Social Sciences hosted a seminar on “The Displacement of Religious Authorities from Syria and their Involvement in Aid Provision: Looking beyond Humanitarianism.”

The cross-campus seminar was based on the preliminary findings of Research Associate at University College London, Dr Estella Carpi.

Welcoming the attendees, moderator and ISJCR Director and Associate Professor of Political Science and International Affairs Tamirace Fakhoury said the seminar sheds light on the under-researched topic of “how the displacement from Syria has affected religious authorities and how religious authorities have had to reinvent their mission and involvement in aid provision.”

Dr. Carpi then kicked off the seminar by explaining that the field research she has been conducting in Lebanon is part of a much broader project with Prof. Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh of University College London under the framework of “south–south humanitarianism.” The research, she said, looks at southern agents of aid provision, particularly faith leaders or religious authorities who try to help their own displaced communities.

Dr. Carpi’s presentation built on her extensive research on faith-based organizations working in the Syria neighborhood, including her engagement with Syrian refugee faith leaders in Lebanon. “I relied on self-accounts of personal experiences in aid provision to the displaced communities once Syrian faith leaders became refugees themselves,” she said.

Dr. Carpi then mapped a geography of displaced religious authorities following their physical trajectories outside of Syria. She also focused on how displacement from war, violence and persecution reconfigures their spiritual role and their social status within receiving societies. By doing so, Dr. Carpi captured how the spiritual mission of such religious leaders changes in response to their own refugee status and their intent to provide aid, support and solidarity to the displaced communities.

Concluding the seminar, Dr. Fakhoury and Chair of the Social Sciences Department Marwan Rowayheb thanked Dr. Carpi for uncovering concepts of humanitarianism that shed light on new actors often overlooked by researchers when studying Syrian refugee challenges in neighboring host societies.

Dr. Rowayheb encouraged Dr. Carpi to account for the structural differences in the nature of the religious establishments in Lebanon, and to examine the competition between Lebanese religious authorities and displaced Syrian faith leaders that in some instances trigger sensitivities.

Categories: Europe, Lebanon, Middle East, Syria, Turkey, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Right to Play Versus the Right to War? Vulnerable Childhood in Lebanon’s NGOization (February 2019)

My chapter with Chiara Diana (Université Libre de Bruxelles) is now published in Kristen Cheney and Aviva Sienrvo’s “Disadvantaged Childhoods and Humanitarian Interventions”, Palgrave MacMillan, 2019. Look it up!

https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F978-3-030-01623-4_6

In the wake of the massive human displacement from Syria (2011–), some international NGOs (INGOs) have intervened in Lebanon to prevent Lebanese and Syrian youth from “radicalizing” and joining armed groups. In the framework of international humanitarian assistance within the “Global South,” while refugee adults are expected to become self-reliant, children and youth are often addressed as objects of universal concern and rarely as aware subjects of decision-making. Drawing on interviews conducted between Spring 2015 and Autumn 2016 with INGO workers and child players and their parents, we consider INGO play activities in contexts where political violence is widespread and longstanding, such as the Tripoli governorate in northern Lebanon. This chapter first aims to unpack the INGO discourse on children’s vulnerability. Second, we analyze INGO discourses and practices in a bid to critically examine the humanitarian and developmental attempts at providing politically neutral spaces for refugee and local children. We therefore build a threefold analysis focusing on the dehistoricization of political violence in the Arab Levant, the employment of the “Sport for Development” formula as a path to social cohesion, and the weak cultural literacy of INGOs in regard to contextual adult-child relations. Thereby, we argue that while INGOs tend to commodify the child as an a priori humanitarian victim, the international assistance community should rather strive to provide children with alternate avenues for political engagement in order to counter war recruitment.

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Thinking Power Relations across Humanitarian Geographies: Southism as a Mode of Analysis (January 2019)

https://southernresponses.org/2019/01/23/thinking-power-relations-across-humanitarian-geographies-southism-as-a-mode-of-analysis/amp/?__twitter_impression=true&fbclid=IwAR3ydxsDqrlVN_nKhlKCBaFTOmgRiRMf4Yk4WB94DDzBSPkDpYK8juCywXg

This piece is posted as part of the blog series, Thinking through the Global South.  You can read the series here.

In this blog post Dr Estella Carpi examines the impact of the structural relationships between the Global North and Global South and puts forward the concept of ‘Southism’. This term is used to describe the unequal power relations, practices and belief systems that enable Northern humanitarian actors and organisations to assume a right to care for, rescue and assist Global South settings and people that it preconceives to be disempowered and incapable. Dr Carpi also examines how “epistemic failure”, and “material discrimination” influence and shape the encounters between humanitarian providers and their beneficiaries and suggests a ‘geography-free’ approach to enable us to critically question geographies of birth and national passports as assumed sole identifiers of power.

This piece was posted on the 23rd January, 2019.

By Dr Estella Carpi, Research Associate, Southern Responses to Displacement

In my chapter for the Routledge Handbook of South-South Relations, I sought to uncover the multifaceted power relations that underpin the ways that humanitarian practitioners lead their lives and encounter and think about local residents, governors, infrastructure, providers and refugee groups in the context of Lebanon’s humanitarian crises. My contribution, ‘The “Need to Be There”: North-South Encounters and Imaginations in the Humanitarian Economy’ also seeks to explore how the so-called international community of humanitarian practitioners is perceived by local and refugee populations.

My chapter specifically considers the Lebanese humanitarian provision systems in place during the Israel-Lebanon July 2006 war and in response to the Syrian refugee influx into Lebanon from 2011. In these settings, it can be argued that there is a relationship between aid providers and recipients that cements the Global South as the key source of the Global North’s empowerment, accountability and capability to develop and assist vulnerable settings and people. This is a relationship that I explore in more detail below.

Aiming to problematise ethnic and political geographies within this context of provider-recipient power relations, my chapter suggests the concept of Southism as an analytical tool.  The complex role of international and local aid workers in crisis-driven transnational labour, and the ad hoc relevance of nationality within humanitarian economies, demonstrates to interrelated dynamics: on the one hand, the paternalistic behaviour of the humanitarian apparatus which deems itself as “necessary” in areas of need and, on the other hand, the complex relationships that exist between local, regional and international NGOs. For some displaced people I had the chance to speak to in Lebanon, these provider-recipient power relations seemingly form a homogenous arm of governance unable to either empathize with them or enact solidarity. It is in this articulated context that I explore North-South actual encounters and perceptions within the humanitarian economy.

My field research in Lebanon between 2011 and 2013 pointed to a tension between the philanthropic spirit of the humanitarian system, and local and refugee responses to the “Southist” intent. This Southist intent of the Northern humanitarian system to care for, rescue, upgrade and assist settings in the Global South combines personal affection and collective compassion with professional aspirations. By using the concept of Southism, I intend to resonate with Gayatri Spivak’s “monumentalization of the margins”, that is the overemphasis of needs and areas of need exclusively in the Global South. As such, Southism indicates a structural relationship, rather than a mere act of assisting the South with a philanthropic spirit. Specifically, it preconceives the South as disempowered and incapable.

To examine these concepts further, in my chapter I identify “epistemic failure” and “material discrimination” as key issues that influence and shape the encounters between humanitarian providers and their beneficiaries, and the latter’s perceptions of the former. Epistemic failure, or the failure of the humanitarian system to accumulate local knowledge concerning the cultures, languages and capacities of the areas of intervention exists at the same time as valuing the geographic diversification of professional experience and the standardization of operational skills. This creates a problematic disconnection between humanitarian practices and lifestyles on the one hand and aid recipients on the other.

In turn, material discrimination refers to the different pay-scales set up for local and international staff, heavily disadvantaging the former. In addition, I propose that “humanitarian tourism”, “politics of blame” and the “betrayal of the international community” represent local and refugee perceptions of global humanitarian worldviews, ways of being and lifestyles. “Humanitarian tourism’ represents the temporary as well as voyeuristic international interest in crisis-stricken settings. There is also a humanitarian tendency to blame local staff, infrastructure and politics for operational failures: “the politics of blame”. Lastly, “the betrayal of the international community” refers to the moral wound felt by forcibly displaced people who denounce the fictitious intervention of the international community and its inability or unwillingness to eradicate injustice and the very causes of crisis.

The humanitarian approaches to thinking about and assisting the needy that I discuss in my chapter relate to disparate sides of the world and, therefore, it questions geographies of birth and national passports as a priori sole identifiers of power. The global humanitarian way of being that I explore in Lebanon’s humanitarian crises is also about the social class and economic status of aid workers, and their own freedom to move inside (and away from) vulnerable areas and opt for educational and professional migration.

From this perspective, I strive towards a geography-free interpretation of Southism. While passports and nationalities still prove their efficaciousness in times of risk, my research in Lebanon has rather aimed to identify comfort zones which protect social statuses, ease and privilege across passports. The hegemonic culture which underpins the “NGOization” of postcolonial settings, on the one hand, can sometimes be adopted regardless of the geographic context of its primary actors. On the other hand, an exploration of hegemonic culture can unearth the organisational and individual ethics of international and local practitioners in approaching southern settings affected by crisis.

This geography-free approach helps to highlight and critically examine the “too-easy West-and-the-rest polarizations sometimes rampant in colonial and postcolonial discourse studies”. To understand the contextuality of humanitarian action and its impact on societies, we therefore need a flexible geography of Southism, which disappears when irrelevant and re-emerges when able to uncover the ad hoc performative roles of nationality.

Nonetheless, in my chapter I limit myself to showing some of the moral and material implications of Southism. After all, the feelings, intentions and aspirations which often underlie the humanitarian career make such Southism not a matter which can be straightforwardly addressed in the short term. Humanitarian actors’ tendency to believe that, whenever a new emergency breaks out, Lebanon – like other “fragile states” – would collapse without international humanitarian help is a belief that requires longstanding cultural intervention.

As I affirm in my chapter, “Southism does not merely make the Global South, or Southern elements in the North, its special place – as Edward Said does with the Orient – but it is, rather, employed by Northern and Southern actors to reassert, solidify and legitimise the Northern humanitarian presence and actions”. As long as the very aim remains the politico-pragmatic role and the moral survival of the Global North, “polycentric forms of knowledge, politics and practice” – as stated by Fiddian-Qasmiyeh and Daley in the introduction– are unlikely to emerge and produce tangible transformations. My contribution, in line with the other 30 chapters of the Handbook, has attempted to prompt critical framings of everyday political geographies that form our material lives, actions, and conceptual referents.

This extract from Dr Carpi’s chapter in The Handbook of South-South Relations, edited by Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh and Patricia Daley, has been slightly edited for the purposes of this blog post. For more information about the Handbook, see here, and for other pieces published as part of the Southern Responses blog series on Thinking through the Global South, click here.

 For further readings on the themes addressed in this post please read:

Thinking through ‘the global South’ and ‘Southern-responses to displacement’: An introduction – in this introductory piece to our new blog series, Prof. Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh sets out a series of questions that our project is exploring with reference to how to think about, and through ‘the South.’

Conceptualising the South and South-South Encounters – in this extract from their introduction to the new book, Handbook of South-South Relations, Prof. Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh and Prof. Patricia Daley explore different ways of conceptualising and studying ‘the global South’ and diverse encounters that take place across and between diversely positioned people and institutions around the world.

Histories and spaces of Southern-led responses to displacement – In this blog post Prof. Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh highlights the need for the analyses of local responses to be more attentive to the longstanding history of diverse “local/Southern” actors and examines the ways in which Southern-led responses can work alongside, or explicitly challenge, Northern-led responses to displacement.

Empires of Inclusion – In this post Dr Estella Carpi explores the implications of the concept and process of ‘inclusion’ in relation to South-South Cooperation.

The Localisation of Aid and Southern-led Responses to Displacement: Beyond instrumentalising local actors – In this blog Dr Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh examines a number of questions relating to recent action by international humanitarian actors responding to displacement and the new impetus to localise aid by engaging with ‘local’ actors in and from the global South.

Does Faith-Based Aid Provision always Localise Aid? – In this blog post Dr Estella Carpi argues that there is a need to reflect on local contexts to ensure engagement with local faith communities do not rely on essentialising practices that assume certain groups speak on behalf of a homogenous ‘locale.’

Featured image:  Al-Hikma Modern Hospital, Zarqa.  © E. Fiddian-Qasmiyeh (2018)

 

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Recensione di “Come uno Stato. Hizbullah e la Mimesi Strategica”, di Marina Calculli (gennaio 2019)

http://www.lavoroculturale.org/hezbollah-come-uno-stato/?fbclid=IwAR0b1JL4iHFOuVksnTGyb2FkQi_6KqLSYTwGnDnmPgs8_mAcQy834W8D2xQ

Hezbollah: come uno Stato

Se gli studi sul maggior partito libanese sciita Hezbollah sono ormai prolifici, Come uno Stato: Hizbullah e la Mimesi Strategica di Marina Calculli offre un’analisi acuta e per certi versi insolita.

Come uno StatoIl libro, composto da un’introduzione, cinque capitoli e un’incisiva conclusione, ha il pregio della chiarezza strutturale e contenutistica. Con uno scopo finemente analitico, Come uno Stato sembra pensato per un pubblico sia accademico che non accademico, ma che si suppone abbia una minima familiarità con il partito di Hezbollah e il Libano. Ad aprire il libro è una solida introduzione che delinea in modo nitido il contesto teorico e politologico in cui l’autrice intende collocare la propria analisi. Il  libro si costituisce di 5 capitoli, strettamente interconnessi e scorrevoli alla lettura.

Come uno Stato identifica le peculiarità di Hezbollah senza dipingere il partito come un fenomeno di natura quasi anomala da denigrare o elogiare, come invece alcuni studiosi hanno suggerito in passato, abbracciando un iperbolico eccezionalismo negativo o positivo (si legga Augustus Norton e Nicholas Blanford nella letteratura anglofona, Mausolino e Angelino nella letteratura italiana, o Amal Sa‘d Ghorayeb nella letteratura libanese). Allo stesso tempo, il libro di Calculli ha il pregio di contestualizzare Hezbollah in una più ampia costellazione di partiti libanesi, discutendo ad esempio nel secondo capitolo la realtà delle Kata’eb – la destra falangista libanese – e la formazione coloniale di matrice francese dello stato libanese.

Hezbollah dunque emerge come singolare, ma a tratti paragonabile ad altre realtà politiche libanesi. Più recentemente, da una vasta letteratura permeata dall’eccezionalismo politico – che, ad esempio, spesso enfatizza la violenza politica adottata da Hezbollah durante la guerra civile libanese (1975-1990), seppur fosse una pratica comune ad altre parti del conflitto – si è approdati quasi a una banalizzazione delle peculiarità del Partito di Dio o a una sua mera lettura socio-economica, con il rischio, a mia veduta, di svuotarne le caratteristiche strategiche, per le quali ideologia e prassi non possono restare un binomio antitetico. Calculli riesce invece a ricostruire la peculiarità ideologica e logico-strategica di Hezbollah, pur evitando l’eccezionalismo astorico.

Come uno Stato, avanzando l’idea della mimesi strategica, riesce a definire con sistematicità una letteratura libanese antecedente che, nei decenni, ha analizzato le strategie politiche, militari e di auto-affermazione di Hezbollah nel processo di ricostruzione post-bellica della guerra dell’estate 2006 contro Israele (in Libano chiamata comunemente harb tammuz, “la guerra di luglio”). Calculli, seppur parlando dalla prospettiva delle Relazioni Internazionali, attraverso il concetto di mimesi strategica offre finalmente uno strumento di interpretazione incisivo e appropriato per comprendere le contraddizioni comportamentali e diplomatiche nella storia relazionale tra Hezbollah, lo stato libanese e l’esercito regolare libanese. Tale tendenza mimetica del partito è adottata dal partito sia in contesto geopolitico – a cui l’analisi dall’autrice da priorità – sia nel contesto della ricostruzione urbana; la quale, di natura transnazionale, si ricollega quindi al contesto geopolitico.

All’interno delle politiche di ricostruzione dopo la guerra di luglio, infatti, le pianificazioni urbana e territoriale sono state delegate a Hezbollah dallo stato libanese, che ha approcciato il partito come attore privato a cui assegnare appalti. Questa tendenza comportamentale di Hezbollah, confermata pertanto dalla letteratura urbanistica locale, non era stata concettualizzata in modo metodico. Come uno Stato arriva estremamente puntuale e incisivo nel proporre una lettura organica delle politiche di Hezbollah.

Inoltre, il rapporto di fatto complesso tra Hezbollah e il regime siriano che il libro contribuisce a ricostruire è offuscato da un’apparente linearità degli eventi odierni in Siria – all’interno dei quali il partito libanese ha contribuito ampiamente alla sopravvivenza del regime di Bashar al-Asad. Analogamente, il rapporto tra Hezbollah e le Forze Armate regolari libanesi emerge nel libro come complementare e, per l’appunto, mimetico. In tale quadro, Hezbollah risulta farsi promotore dell’insurgency durante la guerra civile (1975-1990) e della counterinsurgency con l’emergere dello Stato Islamico (p. 147).

Calculli traccia la traiettoria storica del processo trasformativo del partito concentrandosi su tre spartiacque temporali: la fine della guerra civile libanese, la “guerra al terrore” post-settembre 2001 e il conflitto siriano che inizia con la crisi politica del marzo 2011. In tale analisi tripartitica, l’agentività elastica di Hezbollah emerge con chiarezza. A mio avviso, il ruolo del partito nella guerra di luglio è affrontato in modo analogamente fondamentale nell’analisi di Calculli: la costruzione da parte del partito della propria moralità pubblica al di fuori dello Stato ma non in opposizione ad esso durante l’ultima guerra contro Israele potrebbe quindi essere letta come una quarta giuntura critica.

Come uno stato

È “l’ostentazione pubblica della competizione” (p. 150) di Hezbollah a permettere tale elasticità politica, che si preoccupa più della performance contestuale che di immutabili credenze ideologiche, e sembra fare eco alla politica del “come se” di cui parlava l’antropologa statunitense Lisa Wedeen in Ambiguities of Domination (1999): la politica di pubblica dissimulazione del regime siriano. Un ulteriore approfondimento teorico della dissimulazione come strategia di sovranità nel contesto libanese, e come quest’ultima si intrecci ad altre politiche di dissimulazione regionali, potrebbe costituire un intrigante seguito analitico di Come uno Stato.

Infine, il libro si fonda su una metodologia ancora di minoranza all’interno delle Relazioni Internazionali: le interviste in prima persona con personaggi politici eminenti, che raramente si ritrovano all’interno di studi non tradizionalmente etnografici. Calculli, a tal proposito, suggerisce implicitamente l’importanza delle fonti primarie in discipline spesso sviluppate su annunci diplomatici e discorsi ufficiali. L’importanza di tale metodologia qualitativa è però evidenziata troppo poco nell’introduzione, quando invece costituisce, a mia veduta, uno dei punti di maggior forza del libro.

Come uno Stato , infine, spezza il rigido binomio tra lo stato ufficiale e Hezbollah, andando oltre la visione del partito come “stato nello stato” o come “anti-stato” tout court. Nell’attuale letteratura sullo stato libanese, che sembra finalmente distanziarsi da definizioni sterilmente normative di statalità “forti” e “deboli”, il libro di Calculli è una lettura particolarmente consigliata a chi desidera comprendere Hezbollah come ideologia e prassi in chiave relazionale e temporale e, finalmente, al di là del suo carattere islamico: il partito rispetto allo stato libanese, agli altri partiti politici e a eventi chiave di giuntura e disgiuntura nelle politiche globali.

Categories: Libano, Medio Oriente, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Book Review of Lucy Mayblin’s Asylum after Empire (December 2018)

You can access here my review of Lucy Mayblin’s book “Asylum after Empire. Colonial Legacies in the Politics of Asylum Seeking” on Refuge 34(2): 158-160.

https://refuge.journals.yorku.ca/index.php/refuge/issue/view/2319?fbclid=IwAR13If-SvFwmLSFKTKKL1MRFjB0BSFS6t591zjAGs3qRwjVrdRFkT39HySM

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Southern Responses at British Academy “Working Together: Human Rights, the Sustainable Development Goals and Gender Equality” Workshop

Southern Responses to Displacement

In November 2018, Dr Estella Carpi from the Southern Responses to Displacement research team took part in “Working Together: Human Rights, the Sustainable Development Goals and Gender Equality,” a workshop held at the British Academy to launch a report of the same title. In this post, Dr Estella Carpi reflects on the workshop and the report, which focuses on the need for the human rights and SDG frameworks to work together in a bid to take steps towards achieving substantive gender equality. In this regard, the Southern Responses project is examining how principles and motivations differ in various models of care, development, advocacy and protection across the global North and the global South, and how ‘northern’ approaches have historically overshadowed alternative frameworks to overcome diverse structural barriers and inequalities.

This blog was posted on the 27 November 2018.  

Southern Responses at British Academy “Working Together: Human Rights, the Sustainable Development Goals…

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