Research Project: History Writing at Lebanon’s Universities // Dynamics of connectivity under the impact of reform, innovation and political change

© Jonathan Kriener

By Jonathan Kriener

In the winter term of 2010/11, postgraduate students of sociology at the Lebanese University (UL) protested against its newly established Doctoral School for Humanities and Social Sciences. The campaigners claimed that the reform was designed to functionalise graduate studies merely to serve the globalising labour market. Maybe it is not by coincidence that the campaign started with a boycott of the entrance exams to the Doctoral School. In the exams, foreign language skills were tested; skills which, on average, are less developed among the constituencies of the two March 8 parties who supported the protest. Following the protest, a government decision exempted one of the five local branches of the Institute of Social Sciences from the new system. During the academic year 2014/15, however, the new regulations for doctoral studies were finally adopted by the entire Institute of Social Science. Continue reading

Research Project: Negotiating Differences: Pluralism, interreligious dialogue and European organisations in Lebanon

Danish-Arab Interfaith Dialogue meeting in Saida, November 2017.
© Stefan Maneval 2017

By Stefan Maneval

 

When the Lebanese Adyan Foundation set out to produce a textbook aiming to foster acceptance of religious and cultural diversity, it was planning to create one volume for all religious communities in Lebanon. This goal turned out to be too ambitious – the religious leaders of the various Muslim and Christian communities involved in the project did not find enough common ground to create a single volume to include them all. Instead, two volumes – one for Christians and one for Muslims – were issued in a slipcase in 2017. Continue reading

Seminar Series: At the Margins of Wage Labour? Work and Protests in Lebanon: From migrant work to large retail chains

Sofia Agosta, Michele Scala, Workers in agriculture, Akkar, 2017.

A seminar series by Ifpo, OCM (USJ) and the OIB

Organizers :

Michele Scala (OIB Visiting Doctoral Fellow, Amu-Iremam, Ifpo)
Nizar Hariri, Senior Lecturer at the USJ, Faculty of Economic Sciences

This seminar series aims at creating a space for discussion around “labour”, an issue that is scarcely studied, and widely absent from public and scientific debates in Lebanon. By bringing together the studies of various researchers, experts and actors in this field, this series analyzes labour from the workers point of view, in particularly those who carry out one or more activities at the margins of the legal and social protections which, in turn, are mainly restricted to wage labour. Continue reading

Research Project: Lebanese Diasporic Village Communities and their Practices of Reproduction and Community Development

Inauguration of the Lebanese-Canadian House in Batroun in the presence of the three initiators from Halifax, hosted by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigration Gebran Bassil within the agenda of the Lebanese Diaspora Energy Conference 2017 © Marie Karner 2017

In May 2017, the Lebanese-Canadian House was officially inaugurated as part of the Lebanese Diaspora village in the historic centre of Batroun, a coastal city in North Lebanon. Three successful businesspersons who live in the Canadian City of Halifax (Nova Scotia) secured funding for the renovation works and curated the exhibition inside the house. The initiators are also highly engaged in Halifax’s Lebanese community in roles such as the “Lebanese Honorary Consul for the Maritimes” or the “President of the Lebanese Chamber of Commerce”. The honorary consul is one of the well-known property developers with roots in the Lebanese village of Diman. While the first immigrants earned their income as peddlers, today’s so-called “Diman developers” are highly involved in the emergence of Halifax’s skyline thanks to their large investments and influence in planning decisions. Continue reading

Research Project: The Financialisation of Home in the Middle East // A study of Lebanon’s mortgage markets: Tracing regulatory changes

The Lebanese real estate and banking boom as visible in newly finished projects in the Corniche an-Nahr area, Beirut © Marieke Krijnen

This project by OIB postdoctoral fellow Marieke Krijnen focuses on the increasing interconnections between real estate and finance in Lebanon. Real estate has always been dependent on the financial sector for loans, but the financial sector itself has become increasingly involved in real estate development, with its own subsidiaries and active investments. The financialisation of real estate is part of a larger movement towards the financialisation of the economy, which began during the 1980s when the capitalist system increasingly created money out of money in order to grow in the face of stagnation and inflation. Academic interest in the interconnections between real estate and finance increased massively following the global financial crisis in 2008, which was caused, in part, by the volatility that secondary mortgage markets had created. Continue reading

Cluster: Higher Education as the Subject and Object of Critical Discourse

Billboard in Cairo, 6th October Highway © Daniele Cantini

The importance of universities can hardly be overestimated. Their numbers have grown massively, as have the number of the people enrolled in them relative to the total population worldwide. They exert multiple functions in the production and dissemination of knowledge. Moreover, they are ascribed the role to evaluate and certify knowledge in
the form of professional and scholarly status, curricula, as a basis for policies and more.
As universities themselves have a share in the definition and proclamation of social
problems and goals, they can easily turn into contested terrain in the claim for the right
interpretation of social phenomena and the right ways to address them. Unrest on university campuses, dense security regimes and long closures in the aftermath of political change in several Arab countries testify to that, as well as the continued control over teaching and research activities. Continue reading

CfP: The “State” of Lebanon: Concepts of Political Order in Crisis?

International workshop

Orient-Institut Beirut, 15-16 October 2015

Though this be madness, yet, there is a method in’t.

Shakespeare, Hamlet II, 2.

The Orient-Institut Beirut (OIB) of the Max Weber Foundation invites paper proposals for an international workshop on “The ‘state’ of Lebanon: Concepts of political order in crisis?” to be held in Beirut from 15-16 October 2015. The workshop aims at examining the explanatory value of various classical and new approaches towards political order in understanding the fragility/stability of state and society in Lebanon. Continue reading