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Conflict and Institution Building in Lebanon, 1946-1955

  • Author(s): Abu-Rish, Ziad Munif
  • Advisor(s): Gelvin, James L.
  • et al.
Abstract

This dissertation broadens the inquiry into the history of state formation, economic development, and popular mobilization in Lebanon during the early independence period. The project challenges narratives of Lebanese history and politics that are rooted in exceptionalist and deterministic assumptions. It does so through an exploration of the macro-level transformations of state institutions, the discourses and practices that underpinned such shifts, and the particular series of struggles around Sharikat Kahruba Lubnan that eventual led to the nationalization of the company. The dissertation highlights the ways in which state institutions during the first decade of independence featured a dramatic expansion in both their scope and reach vis-�-vis Lebanese citizens. Such shifts were very much shaped by the contexts of decolonization, the imperatives of regime consolidation, and the norms animating the post-World War II global and regional orders. However, they also reflected the contingent nature of the nexus of alliances and conflicts that animated the local political economy. The dissertation therefore combines an attention to historical legacies with an appreciation of the strategies and options available to social actors in the dynamic juncture of decolonization. In doing so, this dissertation seeks less to posit an alternative static model of state formation, economic development, and popular mobilization. Rather, it argues that such processes must be disaggregated in both time and place so as to appreciate the ways in which they challenge rather than follow the scripted trajectories that have thus far characterized discussions of the period.

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