Exploring Contemporary Shi’ism in European and Middle Eastern Contexts (Panel II-II/ Q&A)

Dr. Fouad Gehad Marei – University of Birmingham

Lebanon: Shi‘ism in a House of Many Mansions and Q&A

This paper will expalin the life-worlds of Lebanon’s Shi‘is is distinct, shaped thoroughly by the community’s entanglement in a) the complex alliances and power-sharing arrangements characteristic of the Lebanese political system, b) geopolitical alignments and regionwide politics of hyper-sectarianisation, and c) the dynamics of protracted conflicts (not only in Lebanon and between Lebanon and Israel, but also further afield in countries including Syria, Iraq and Yemen). It will proceed with an exploration of the present and future of Shi‘i politics and the Shi‘i community’s life-world in Lebanon, highlighting in particular transformations in contemporary modes of Shi‘i religiosity, shaped by a) the socioeconomic leap the community has witnessed since the turn of the twenty first century, b) the generational shift (from a wartime generation born into and socialised in the context of the country’s 1975-1990 civil war to the post-war generation), and c) contemporary mobilisations of the Shi‘i community in response to the Syrian conflict (2011-).