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Title: Exhibiting statehood in Lebanon : clientelism, security and the 'mediated state'
Author: Mazzola, Francisco Pablo Esteban
ISNI:       0000 0004 7969 9941
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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The prevailing image of the Lebanese state as weak and marginalised by clientelistic networks has been challenged in recent years, not least by the violent repression of the 2015 garbage protests by Lebanese state security forces. Yet despite the wide currency of clientelism in scholarship on Lebanese politics, this body offers only a limited understanding of the relation between clientelistic networks and the state, usually based on simplistic, and often dismissive, conceptualisations of the Lebanese state. This thesis calls for a reconsideration of the effects clientelism has on the Lebanese state, and seeks to contribute to a small but growing sub-field of literature dedicated to challenging the insufficiently-argued classification of the Lebanese state as 'weak'. For this thesis I propose to conceive of the Lebanese state as a mediated state - meaning a state with limited capabilities which relies on non-state authorities to fulfil its governance tasks. My argument will mark a contribution by emphasising how clientelism is the main mechanism organising the power structures and political process of the mediated Lebanese state. This thesis follows an interpretive single case study methodology based on a mixed-method approach, involving extensive fieldwork in 2015 and 2016, semi-structured interviews, document analysis and observations. First I will offer an analysis of the Lebanese hybrid security sector, where I argue that clientelism resembles its organising mechanism by blurring the boundaries between state and non-state actors. Based on the example of the Internal Security Forces, I argue that state security forces form crucial parts in the reproduction and maintenance of clientelism and the mediated Lebanese state. In the subsequent chapters I will not only highlight how municipalities serve as switch-boards for clientelistic mediation between local residents and higher echelons of the state, but also how clientelistic networks subjugate local councils to serve their interests on the national level. The case of solid waste management serves as an ideal example to illustrate the latter. Building on the previous chapters, the analysis of civil unrest during the 2015 garbage crisis serves to exemplify the workings of the Lebanese hybrid security arrangement as a protective and repressive mechanism for political elites, and hence its critical role in reproducing o political order based on clientelism. The above-described study underscores the merit in conceptualising the Lebanese state as a mediated state, and adds to similar works by emphasising how clientelism is the prime mechanism organising these power structures and political process. It further highlights how 4 formal state institutions indeed work in partnership with clientelistic non-state actors, and hence the former are part in protecting and reproducing clientelism as the organising mechanisms and very core of the mediated Lebanese state.
Supervisor: Leenders, Reinoud ; Cheng, Christine Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available