Based on a personal episode while doing fieldwork in the summer of 2014 within Christian communities in the urban South Lebanese setting of Tyre, this chapter looks at the way in which the perceived absence of the state allowed formally illegal customary actions to be regarded as legitimate and even believed to carry the same weight as formally legal actions. In what follows, through the use of conspicuous narrative accounts and a degree of ‘self-reflections’, I show how these illegal practices are lent legitimacy under specific temporal, spatial and cultural determinants, and how a local religious community reacts to these processes of legitimation. The personal episode mirrors the often-overlooked conflicting loyalties and the subsequent legitimate illegality of multi-religious societies. Nevertheless, it also shows how illegally legitimate forces and activities may also overlap legally legitimate forces and activities, above all when the ‘legitimate’ authorities are perceived as not capable of guaranteeing security through ‘legal’ means.

Conflicting Loyalties and Legitimate Illegality in Urban South Lebanon

marcello mollica
2018

Abstract

Based on a personal episode while doing fieldwork in the summer of 2014 within Christian communities in the urban South Lebanese setting of Tyre, this chapter looks at the way in which the perceived absence of the state allowed formally illegal customary actions to be regarded as legitimate and even believed to carry the same weight as formally legal actions. In what follows, through the use of conspicuous narrative accounts and a degree of ‘self-reflections’, I show how these illegal practices are lent legitimacy under specific temporal, spatial and cultural determinants, and how a local religious community reacts to these processes of legitimation. The personal episode mirrors the often-overlooked conflicting loyalties and the subsequent legitimate illegality of multi-religious societies. Nevertheless, it also shows how illegally legitimate forces and activities may also overlap legally legitimate forces and activities, above all when the ‘legitimate’ authorities are perceived as not capable of guaranteeing security through ‘legal’ means.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11570/3131817
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