Marginal memories of Lebanon’s civil war: challenging hegemonic narratives in a small town in North Metn

by Carmen Hassoun Abou Jaoude and Daniele Rugo

22 Jun 2021
Journal of the British Academy
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Number of pages
17 (pp. 11-27)

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Abstract: This article focuses on the ‘hidden public culture’ formed by individual memories of violent conflicts, with particular reference to the Lebanese Civil War (1975–90). Taking memory as a terrain through which individuals can contest authoritarian governance and repressive memory scripts, the article argues that personal memories of ordinary citizens can contribute to illuminate the power relations that structure war memorialisations. Through a series of interviews, the article analyses militia practices in a small town in North Metn to challenge the idea that militias were merely defending a territory from external enemies. Militia abuses against the populations they were meant to defend during the Civil War are also used as a starting point to reflect on Lebanon’s present. This case study is then used as a starting point to advocate for the use of personal memories in the research of violent conflicts as a way to broaden our understanding of conflict’s lived experiences.

Keywords: Lebanese Civil War, individual memories, militia, conflict, lived experience.

Article posted to Journal of the British Academy, volume 9, supplementary issue 3 (Memories from the Margins: Violence, Conflict and Counter-Narratives).

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