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Durham e-Theses
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Hizbullah's Struggle for Symbolic Power: Creating and Reproducing the Islamic Resistance in Lebanon

MOFFATT, CAELUM,ROBERT,MAGUIRE (2015) Hizbullah's Struggle for Symbolic Power: Creating and Reproducing the Islamic Resistance in Lebanon. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



This thesis presents an alternative conceptual framework with which to examine the emergence and evolution of Hizbullah in Lebanon. The proliferation of Islamist movements in the Middle East has stimulated scholarly inquiry that seeks to identify and explain episodes of collective action in Muslim societies. Addressing the phenomenon of mobilisation from the respective perspectives of Islamic studies, Area studies or social movement theory (SMT), pre-existing literature remains predominantly characterised by intra-disciplinary dualisms and limited inter-disciplinary engagement. In this context, not only is there a deficiency of consistency concerning the relative influence of agency/structure and culture/ideology in collective action, but Hizbullah, arguably the most effective manifestation of movement mobilisation in the Middle East, is also conceptually under-explored. This research aims to transform these prevailing dichotomies into permanent dialectics by adopting the epistemological and methodological insights developed in Pierre Bourdieu’s ‘Theory of Practice’ as conceptual interlocutors to problematise conventional assumptions in traditional Islamic studies and SMT, to propose a revised Bourdieu-SMT approach for illustrating collective action and to prioritise the application of this holistic lens for assessing the multi-faceted dimensions of Hizbullah’s advancement in Lebanon. Equipped with these analytical tools, this thesis intends to initiate and contribute to an inter-disciplinary discussion on collective action by arguing that a Bourdieu-SMT conceptualisation can assist in explaining the mutually constituted process by which Hizbullah strategically inculcates dispositions and perceptions amongst agents within the parameters of specific fields in Lebanon while concurrently propagating cohesive discourses and practices with the objective of managing the harmonisation of its relational positions across fields that are inherently constituted by differentiated logics. Embedded within a system that internally mitigates against the exclusive exercise of symbolic power, Hizbullah is entrenched in a tautological struggle for opportunities that enable it to balance and enhance the legitimate status of the Islamic Resistance in Lebanon.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Hizbullah, Islamic Resistance, Shi'ism, Islamist movements, Lebanon, Middle East, Social Movement Theory, Pierre Bourdieu
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Government and International Affairs, School of
Thesis Date:2015
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:04 Nov 2015 15:31

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