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Lebanon`s Communal Elite-Mass Politics : the Instiutionalization of Disintegration Faris el-Khazen

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Political Science
POLI 341
Imad Mansour

Lebanons Communal EliteMass Politics The Institutionalization of Disintegration Farid elKhazenForces of integration and disintegration have overlapped in Lebs plural society ever since Greater Leb was formed in 1920 Khalaf the very forces that enable the Lebanese at the micro and communal leveldisable them at the macro and national level by eroding their civic consciousness and symbols of national identityDynamics of pluralism integration and disintegration both within and bw communal groups is discussed in this article in relation to the lit on integrationesp prior to collapse of state institutionsand outbreak of war in 75 war yrs have radically altered basis of elitemass communal politics and by extention that of integration Pluralism and Integration in Lebanon Shifting ThresholdsConnor while all societies exhibited some degree of divisiveness only divisions that acquired political saliency influenced the political process What distinguished one society from another was not pluralism itself but the kind of pluralism which was involvedMazrui pure type of plural society is one in which relationships bw groups are at level of either bare coexistence or minimal contact NOT the case in LebIn reality pluralism should be regarded as a variable which depends on the nature of segmental differentiations of society and bc no poli system has proven immune to ethnic or other communal division pluralism CANNOT be necessarily ass w either democracy or depotismKuper 2 models of plural societya equilibrium model and b conflict model which stresses coercionSmith diffs in institutional orgn which tend to perpetuate fundamental cleavagespubli regulative structures are the cental agencies for the preservation or modification of corporate divisions and relations in plural societiesFrunivall integration is minimal social interaction becomes conditioned by sheer necessitythat is ppl mix but dont combineconflict model state precedes and constitutes society by imposing some measure of ordered relations on otherwise hostiledisassociated groups equilibrium model state embodies the basic function of social integrationLebequilibrium model in degree of its culturaland instl cleavages AND in terms of its structural mechanisms visavis the state y Sectarian balance hinges on predominance of 3 groups Maronite Sunni and Shia along w several smaller groups of which the Druze and to a lesser extent the Grk Orthodox and Grk Catholic are most politically involvedLebs confessional systemrecognition of state policy ofunity in diversity instead of strategy of forced assimilation into politically dominant sectarian group but in Leb no sectarian group was large and powerful enough to mobilize power and no group was small enough but dominant in key govt positions andor army to impose coercive minority rule mobilize state resources and eliminate oppn to insure total submission to govt authorityHist and geog mechanism to neutralize domination in LebAscending power of Sunnis after 20s gradually eroding political advantage of Maronites then Sunni predominance greatly challenged by mobn of Shia and by growing power of the Left in 70s led by Druze leader Junblatt so decision making powerparalyzedThe street was subject to external influences b4 ultimately being mobd by PLOContinuing fluctuations in communal power set Leb apart from other plural societies attributed to at least 2 factors a size of largest communal groups in countries like Belgium Switz India and Malaysia exceeds ndsize of 2 largest by margin bin Western democratic countries communal transformations have reached
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