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Title: Consociationalism and control : excluding the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon
Author: Mikhael, Andrew
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2013
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Lebanon established itself as a consociation in 1943 and for thirty years achieved relative stability. However, in 1975 the state descended into a fifteen-year war that destroyed the idea that Lebanon was a bastion of tolerance and co-existence. In the years following the war the Lebanese state and society has remained deeply divided. Central in the discussion of Lebanese politics is the continued use of power-sharing between the eighteen recognised sects to manage societal cleavages. This thesis examines consociationalism in Lebanon and asks whether the consociational arrangement post-Civil War employs subsidiary control mechanisms to safeguard power-sharing. The thesis contained examines whether the Palestinian refugees residing in Lebanon are subjected to control measures in order to protect Lebanese consociationalism. Current population estimates put Palestinian refugees living in Lebanon at around 300,000, of which are nearly all Sunni. A common thought in the Lebanese body politic is that if Palestinians were to be naturalised in Lebanon, consociationalism would become untenable due to a population shift that would favour Sunnis. With the added weight to the Sunni constituency, Lebanese power-sharing would become redundant. This thesis therefore explores the legitimacy of this idea, using the example of Palestinian refugees to analyse key themes in the Lebanese polity, foremost the protectionism each sect exercises in defence of their political capital. Using Palestinian refugees as an example, this thesis illustrates the ways and methods that Lebanese sects react to potential threats, which in turn highlights the difficulties of governance in Lebanon. I conclude that Lebanon does employ control mechanisms to limit Palestinian refugees because the Lebanese polity is unable to substantively deal with issues that may jeopardise the equilibrium of the state. In a state that emphasises corporate power-sharing, any issue that is perceived to cause disequilibria will be met with intransigent policy positions from the Lebanese actors.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available