Across the Bay

Monday, February 28, 2005

Edelstein on Lebanon's System

I know I must be the last blogger to link this, but it's not because of any lack of interest! Jonathan Edelstein has put up a couple of informative posts on Lebanon's political system and its major players. They are part of a series on Lebanon that he's preparing. Make sure to read the comments section of both parts, especially part 2, where Jonathan has indulged me in a conversation on the Lebanese consociational system. His comments are very helpful and informative (for me at least!) and Jonathan, like me, is an optimist when it comes to the adaptability of the Lebanese consociational system.

You've heard me talk about consociationalism before (see this older post ) where I linked to a couple of essays (only one of them, Binningsbø's, is free) and mentioned the theory's main proponent, Arend Lijphart. Lijphart has had his share of critics most notably Lustick (who's no Neocon fan) and van Schendelen (for some subscribers to these critics' views, namely Lustick, see bloggers Stacey Yadav of Al-Hiwar and AbuAardvark) but also Donald Horowitz, whose 1985 Ethnic Groups in Conflict is a classic. See also the critique of Paul Brass in his 1991 Ethnicity and Nationalism: Theory and Comparison.

For an article that touches on consociationalism (in the context of democracy and ethnic conflict) in the Iraqi case, see this (PDF) very recent essay by Andreas Wimmer. Ian Lustick's 1979 classic "Stability in Deeply Divided Societies: Consociationalism versus Control" (World Politics 26 [April]) is a good place to start for criticism of Lijphart's theory. Lustick's 1997 “Lijphart, Lakatos, and Consociationalism” (World Politics 50 [October]) is a more recent one. This is not what I do for a living, so I'm not fully up to date on the material, but Rudy Andeweg's essay ("Consociational Democracy," Annual Review of Political Science vol. 3, 2000) is a good place to get the latest through the year 2000.

Anyway, if you're interested in this or if you're interested in some information on the Lebanese system, head to the Head Heeb's!

Addendum: I forgot to include this relevant recent piece by Hazem Saghieh on the Lebanese model.