Institute of Sociology
of the Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology
of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Gadzhimuradova G.I., Rabat L. Influence of Religious Identity on Lebanons Political System. Vostok (Oriens). 2020. No. 5. Pp. 131141. DOI: 10.31857 ...



Gadzhimuradova G.I., Rabat L. Influence of Religious Identity on Lebanons Political System. Vostok (Oriens). 2020. No. 5. Pp. 131141. DOI: 10.31857/S086919080011350-2
ISSN 0869-1908
DOI 10.31857/S086919080011350-2
: https://www.elibrary.ru/item.asp?id=44279917

Posted on site: 06.12.20


Abstract

The Lebanese experience of consociational democracy is considered by many scholars a successful transition from civil war propagated by religious conflict to a sustainable democracy. However, Lebanons political process can be described as unstable, resulting in political vacuum on several occasions due to different parties politicians inability to reach agreements. Moreover, the countrys political and socio-economic circumstances prompted a severe economic crisis, culminating in an uprising in October 2019 and the consequent collapse of the government, indicate that consociational democracy has been unsuccessful in promoting stability, prosperity and unity. In this article, the authors argue that religions heavy influence on peoples identities in Lebanon has resulted in a fragmented society and a political process guided by clientelism and characterised by weak and corrupt governmental institutions. For decades, religious identity in Lebanon has been shaped and reshaped by local and foreign actors in pursuit of political or other goals. The countrys history, from Ottoman rule to the French mandate to independence in 1943, serves as a witness to this process of utilising religious identities with the purpose of harnessing and monopolising more power within political, social and economic institutions. After the Ottoman Empire fell, France gained control over Lebanon and during its mandate, it favoured the Christian communities over others, further deepening cleavages within a society already divided along confessional lines. These divisions persisted and grew deeper after the Sykes-Pikot agreement (1916) and under the French mandate and persisted after the country gained its independence. Today, religious identities and loyalties continue to play a significant role in shaping Lebanese politics, thus hindering political, economic and social development.