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Km2 vs km of sovereignty in the Lebanese public space: The Shi’ite community, Hezbollah and forms of dissidence within the community territory

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Author(s): Massimo Di Ricco

Journal: Revista CIDOB d'Afers Internacionals
ISSN 1133-6595

Issue: 91;
Start page: 221;
Date: 2010;
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Keywords: Lebanon | social participation | public space | Hezbollah | Shi’ite community

ABSTRACT
An analysis of the Lebanese public space must be linked to the very configuration of its political system, either in terms of geographical space or in political or social terms. The aim of this article –which considers the case of the Shi’ite community– is to highlight, on one hand, the informal character of community public space in Lebanon, and on the other, to shed light on the role of the individual within it. The community and the public space is analysed here from a perspective that takes into consideration the cases of dissent and freedom of expression within a space which is normally excluded from public debate. The case of the Shi’ite community (and in particular of Hezbollah’s space) exemplifies a specific anomaly that at the same time represents a general tendency among all Lebanese communities. Such an anomaly, especially in times of severe internal political tension, leads to an informal division of the national territory between the different Lebanese communities, which are influenced by informal communal leaders, and this makes it difficult for individuals to freely express their ideas within such a space.
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