Ronald Stade: The Irony of Sectarianism in Lebanon

Welcome to a K3 seminar with Ronald Stade, professor of Peace and Conflict Studies/Anthropology, on Wednesday, November 29 at 10.15-12.00.The title of the talk is:

The Irony of Sectarianism in Lebanon

The talk will be held in room NIC 0541 (K3 Open Studio) in Niagara,

Here is an abstract for the talk:

The constitution of Lebanon recognizes eighteen confessional sects. Political conflicts and offices, patron-client networks, settlement patterns, marriages and other civil law matters, etc., largely follow sectarian dividing lines. This type of sectarianism creates an identitarian map that is absolute in that it is disjunct (no identity can belong to two sects), categorical (one either belongs to a sect or one does not) and exhaustive (no individual goes un-belonged). Periodically, the borders on Lebanon’s sectarian map turned bloody as identities were weaponized. Even so, both in times of war and in times of peace political and social alliances have been created across sectarian borders. In the absence of a functioning welfare state and public spirit, private and political alliances serve to mobilize resources and alleviate risks. At closer inspection, the absolute map of Lebanese sectarianism turns out to be more pragmatic than often assumed. This raises the question of confessional and political commitment: How committed are the people of Lebanon to their respective sect? After an overview of Lebanon’s sectarianism, the issue of commitment, and more specifically of sectarian commitment, will be discussed against the background of Søren Kierkegaard’s denunciation of irony as a lack of commitment. At stake is the relationship between sectarian commitment, private self- interest and irony as a public virtue.


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