Accepted paper:

The Shuf mountains as 'Junblatt's place'. Hospitality and the political construction of regional estates in Lebanon

Author:

Isabelle Rivoal (CNRS)

Paper short abstract:

This paper engaged with a discussion on regional space and State in Lebanon It questions the presumed linkage between communal leaders and particular places where controlling a stronghold is no longer about owing the land and subjecting sharecroppers to the landlord's domination.

Paper long abstract:

During the war in Lebanon in the summer of 2006, scores of Shi'as endangered by Israeli bombings in South Lebanon fled from their homes to the north. Thousands sought refuge in the Shuf mountains, a traditionally mixed Christian-Druze area, where they are said to have been "welcomed by Walid Jumblatt" the Druze leader. This paper questions the presumed linkage between communal leaders and particular places in present-day Lebanon where controlling a stronghold is no longer about owing the land and subjecting sharecroppers to the landlord's domination. My main focus is to explore the range of sociological patterns that constructs Junblatt's unchallenged appropriation of a territory he does not legally own. I will demonstrate how the space is politically constructed in the Shuf and how most of the significant relationships there revolve around Mukhtara, the alleged sacred place where the Junblatt have been living for more than 300 years. Moreover, when people say that "Walid Junblatt is the door of the Shuf", they express the very idea that the entire region is a private place for Junblatt and that, as the "lord of the house", he is the only one entitled to display hospitality. The concluding part of this presentation will address the 2006 situation that failed to challenge Junblatt's legitimacy in the Shuf. Indeed, some of the "guests" claimed to be labelled as "refugees" instead of "guests" asserting that they were previous owners of the place or proclaiming that resistance and Lebaneseness were the real notions at stake here.

panel P25
At home in mobility: ethics of hospitality and belonging