Lebanon: Confessionalism, Consociationalism, and Social Cohesion

Part of the Rethinking Political Violence book series (RPV)


The notion of negative resilience is Lebanon’s foremost contribution to the study of social cohesion in deeply divided societies. Aoun and Zahar's analysis of the Lebanon case illustrates the manner in which the confessional system of consociational governance deeply constrains donors’ efforts to foster cross-cutting social engagement, and to reconfigure state–society relationships. Social cohesion is strong within confessional communities yet weak across them. Since the outburst of armed conflict in neighboring Syria, Lebanon’s apparent stability has been described as a sign of social cohesion. Yet, the country is constantly on the brink of collapse. In this context, Aoun and Zahar describe how Lebanon’s negative resilience is as much the result of elite calculations as it is the outcome of social and political dynamics that have created economically interdependent yet socially separate communities.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.World Bank GroupDCUSA
  2. 2.Université de MontréalQCCanada

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