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Hizbullah in the Civilising Process: anarchy, self-restraint and violence

by Adham Saouli
Third World Quarterly ()


This study builds on Norbert Elias’s ‘civilising process’ theory to examine when, how and why Lebanon’s Hizbullah exercises self-restraint or violence in its political interactions. As opposed to studies that focus on how Hizbullah’s ideological goals determine its political behaviour, this study argues that Hizbullah’s political conduct should be understood by locating the Islamic party at the crossroads of war-making with Israel and state-making in Lebanon. Hizbullah’s aim to minimise its vulnerability to Israel led it to rationalise its behaviour in Lebanon by exercising self-restraint and by remoulding its ideology. However, as the political divide in Lebanon has sharpened and the state there weakened, Hizbullah has advanced to fill the void by employing state-like measures, including violence

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