Statehood & Participation

Articles

Kohl Latest Issue is Out!

Journal

Kohl latest issue (Vol. 5 No. 2 | Summer 2019) entitled "Organizing Against the Tide: Alternative Economies and Gendered Labor" is now online.

Kohl "Alternative Economies" Conference

Call for Abstracts

Kohl: a Journal for Body and Gender Research invites abstracts for the Alternative Economies conference. The conference is a follow-up to the June 2019 issue on Organizing Against the Tide: Alternative Economies and Gendered Labor; it will be held over two days, Friday, June 21, and Saturday, June 22, 2019, and will take place at Mansion in Beirut, Lebanon. The two days will include discussions and presentations by authors who have published in the upcoming June issue, in addition to other interventions from contributors and researchers working in the field. Deadliine for Applying: 15/05/2019

Change in Lebanon: A Far Away Dream!

Article

After the Constitutional Council annulled the parliamentary membership of al-Mustaqbal Movement MP Dima Jamali after an appeal submitted by rival Taha Naji,  Tripoli had to hold bi-elections to reelect a member to fill the Sunni seat. 

 

By Noor Baalbaki

Organizing against the Tide: Alternative Economies and Gendered Labor

Call for papers

Kohl: a Journal for Body and Gender Research is currently acepting submissions for its ninth issue slated for publication in June 2019. Young activists, independent researchers, graduate students and fresh graduates are particularly encouraged to apply. Kohl also welcomes submissions from seminal contributors in the field. Submissions are accepted until Sunday, 10 February, 2019.

Beirut on Bike

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Suicidal or practicing for the Tour de France? Sara Stachelhaus is sharing her stories about the underprivileged cyclist minority on their every day adventures through Beirut.

By Sara Stachelhaus

Seminar  held 17 April 2014 at Salt Galata in Istanbul, Turkey: "Writing Revolution"  - Voices from Tunis to Damascus with Layla Al Zubaidi, editor of the book and Director of Heinrich Boell Stiftung - South Africa,  Yassin Al Haj Saleh, Samar Yazbek via skype  and Senay Ozden.

Publications

Stabilization via change? The European Union’s support for human rights advocacy in Lebanon

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Paper

Civil society is identified as a key partner for the European Union (EU) and receiver of financial support in the European Neighbourhood Policy, as civil society is closest to the citizen’s needs, for example in terms of human rights. However, the existing body of research questions whether such aspirations for human rights are compatible with the EU’s main priority in neighbourhood, stabilization. To investigate how this alleged contradiction affects the de facto support for pro-democratic civil society organizations, this research focuses on the question “What are the means of the European Neighbourhood Policy to support Lebanese Human Rights Organizations in their advocacy for Human Rights and Democracy in Lebanon?”Interviews with local experts show that the EU Delegation is striving to cooperate closely with civil society actors to support their human rights advocacy but is limited in their capacity to provide funding to HROs due to a shift of priorities in the newest Single Support Framework (SSF). A comparison of the SSF from before and after stabilization became the main priority, confirms this finding.

Perspectives Issue #15 - Unboxing the Game: the Obvious & the Obscure

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Dossier

Politics are brimming with metaphoric references to games – be it the famous “Great Game” as the diplomatic confrontation of great powers in Asia at the beginning of the 20th century was referred to, the understanding of strategic moves in a region as a “chess board,” war “theatres” or references to the “players,” the strong of them framed as “actors,” the weak as “pawns”, or the crazy ones behaving like “wild cards.”

The 2018 campaign of the civil society: Breaking through the sectarian system?

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On the 6th of May 2018 the Lebanese are voting for their parliament for the first time in 9 years. Elections, supposed to be held in 2013 but postponed repeatedly for security concerns, are held under a new electoral law. There is a huge discontentment with the political system and a high level of political apathy. The garbage crisis of 2015 and the municipal elections of 2016 showed that a huge segment of society does not feel adequately represented by the established political parties. This representation issue has a lot to do with the inherent corruption of the ruling political class and their failure to provide basic public services. Due to the discontent, the 2018 election saw an increase in candidates who do not come from the traditional sectarian parties. These civil society groups, who have their roots in previous protests, try to create a new political discourse around secularism, citizenship and pro-human rights. This paper examines the emergence of the these groups.

A White Dress Does(n’t) Cover the Rape. Factors effecting the abolishment of Article 522

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Article

In Lebanon, a rapist could avoid criminal prosecution by marrying their victim. That was until August 16th 2017 when the Lebanese Parliament voted on the abolishment of Article 522. Thereby, Lebanon joins a number of other Arab states. Given that marital rape and underage marriage remain legal, it is a benign step towards the protection of women’s rights only, but a primer.

‘Islamic Feminism’ in Lebanon: Portraying a counter-discourse

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Islam and Feminism, those two words seem like an oxymoron to most people. But it is not to everyone. Starting in the 90's a number of Islamic feminists from different parts of the world took the stage and made their struggle for women‘s emancipation public. This paper delves into the basic concept of Islamic Feminism and attempts to portray the counter-discourse as it is forming in Lebanon.
Ann-Kathrin Steger

The case of Beirut Madinati: How to maintain a wind of change?

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Changing a crooked system from within might seem like a desperate effort, especially when the same political actors had been in power for over 20 years facilitating corruption and clientelism. Yet, it is a task that the civil platform Beirut Madinati took upon itself when they ran in the 2016 Lebanese municipal elections for the Beirut city council. Although they were not able to win a seat due to the Lebanese winner-takes-all electoral system, their high electoral success caused a massive uproar, also among the established political parties. For this research, a series of interviews has been conducted with members of Beirut Madinati in order to assess the reasons for their success, public reactions and considerations for their further proceedings.

The Uphill Battle with a Boulder

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8,331 - is the astonishing number of officially registered civil society organisations in the small state of Lebanon. From HIV prevention over democracy building to environmental protection, almost no topic remains unaddressed. However, from a closer look, the impact yielded by these groups in the compact state in the Middle East often remains somewhat restricted. On the example of gender equality – a topic fervently debated in Lebanon – this paper analyses the internal and external reasons behind this surprising discrepancy and stipulate thought about how to make the Lebanese civil society work more effectively.

Nothing but a demonstration?

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The civil society movement during the garbage crisis in Beirut after July 2015.

When garbage started to pile up in the streets of Beirut in summer 2015, a new wave of civil society protests was initiated in the country. Thousands of Lebanese were protesting in the streets – against the garbage situation, corruption of the government, the failure of electing a president, sectarianism and many more issues connected to the crisis of the state and the waste management. More than half a year later, no final solution for the garbage has been found and the political situation has not changed. It is said that the civil society movement failed to put pressure on the government, but also the regime itself is made responsible for the lack of change. For many people it was hard to follow up with what was happening on the streets during the demonstrations and to understand who the protestors were and which goals they tried to achieve. This paper analyzes the dynamics of the movement and tries to explain why not much has changed so far and if there is any chance for civil society movements in Lebanon in the future.

Perspectives Issue 8 - October 2015

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The fight against corruption in the MENA region has gone through several ups and downs. Prevention, awareness and purification campaigns aiming to eradicate endemic or systemic corruption have had very little impact. The political will and the good intentions formulated in speeches and conferences during the democratic transitions referred to as the “Arab Spring” have hardly born results.

Social Classes and Political Power in Lebanon

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A powerful and undeniable cliché: that Lebanon is a sectarian country, a country of sects. There is no need to set out to prove this. Sectarianism is viewed as a bane and plague, and thus this “bane” becomes the basis of all ills, a plague from which all plagues spring. The existence of classes is often denied because they do not conform to a particular definition of class. In this new study, Professor Fawwaz Traboulsi has investigated more throughly social classes in Lebanon.

Spatial Social Thought: Local Knowledge in Global Science Encounters

In July 2011, hbs and partners held a conference in Beirut on contemporary thought in social sciences in the Arab world, titled “Social Sciences in Arab Countries Facing a Multi-Versalism: Pathways, Challenges and Constraints”. The cooperation World SSH Net , Lebanese Sociology Association, American University of Beirut -(Lebanese Sociology Association), Institut de Recherche pour le développement – France, rendered a number of excellent contributions. With support of hbs, these were edited and translated and now for the first time can be found in a published version. This book, published by Ibidem Verlag, discusses examples of spatially constructed knowledges and the struggles these knowledges en­counter as they seek to meet one another and escape from the mind prison of their spatial contexts. Or does the world social science arena after all only prove that the ‘Western’ dogma of contextualizing social thought is a dead end road for social thought – everywhere?

Throughout the countries of the Middle East, citizens view the state with suspicion. State institutions are often experienced as biased towards the powerful, corrupt and predatory, and as a sometimes violent means to safeguard the position of a ruling elite, or the domination of one part of the population over others. Participation, on the other hand, is mostly reduced to elections of questionable representational value, or relies on informal channels and structures and primordial relations, and thus reinforces existing patterns of subordination and power. The program Statehood & Participation supports initiatives that demand accountability and due process and encourage citizens to become aware, active and organized around issues of (gender-) democratic participation, freedom of expression and sustainable development.

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