The shadows of Beiteddin Palace: politics of hospitality and struggles for sovereignty between presidential and regional powers in Lebanon

Abstract : This article interrogates the notion that the state in Lebanon is a constantly weakened super structure whose political actions are hampered by a generalised sectarian system. Building on the recent literature that challenges the rhetoric of ‘the failed state’ in Lebanon, this article focuses on the notion of sovereignty and its symbolic expressions. Moving away from discussions of violence to analyze the relationship between the state and Lebanese regional powers, the article considers how hospitality plays a significant part in acting out different expressions of sovereignty. The author observes the competition between the Lebanese Head of State (President Emile Lahoud) and a regional Lord (Walid Jumblat) in their attempt to perform ‘being at home’ in the Lebanese Mountain. In this regard, the region of the Shuf becomes emblematic as a space that links sovereignty to hosting in a particular symbolic place: the Emirs’ Palace of Beiteddin. The author argues that by accepting multiple and sometimes conflicting sources of power, the Lebanese political system follows a model of ‘piling-up’ layers of sovereignty.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, November 21, 2017 - 10:05:06 AM
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Isabelle Rivoal. The shadows of Beiteddin Palace: politics of hospitality and struggles for sovereignty between presidential and regional powers in Lebanon. Contemporary Levant, 2017, 2 (2), pp.116-128. ⟨10.1080/20581831.2017.1391468⟩. ⟨halshs-01643111⟩

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