Compassionate Communalism: Welfare and Sectarianism in Lebanon (Hardback)Melani Cammett (author)
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In Lebanon, religious parties such as Hezbollah play a critical role in providing health care, food, poverty relief, and other social welfare services alongside or in the absence of government efforts. Some parties distribute goods and services broadly, even to members of other parties or other faiths, while others allocate services more narrowly to their own base. In Compassionate Communalism, Melani Cammett analyzes the political logics of sectarianism through the lens of social welfare. On the basis of years of research into the varying welfare distribution strategies of Christian, Shia Muslim, and Sunni Muslim political parties in Lebanon, Cammett shows how and why sectarian groups deploy welfare benefits for such varied goals as attracting marginal voters, solidifying intraconfessional support, mobilizing mass support, and supporting militia fighters.Cammett then extends her arguments with novel evidence from the Sadrist movement in post-Saddam Iraq and the Bharatiya Janata Party in contemporary India, other places where religious and ethnic organizations provide welfare as part of their efforts to build political support. Nonstate welfare performs a critical function in the absence of capable state institutions, Cammett finds, but it comes at a price: creating or deepening social divisions, sustaining rival visions of the polity, or introducing new levels of social inequality.Compassionate Communalism is informed by Cammett's use of many methods of data collection and analysis, including Geographic Information Systems (GIS) analysis of the location of hospitals and of religious communities; a large national survey of Lebanese citizens regarding access to social welfare; standardized open-ended interviews with representatives from political parties, religious charities, NGOs, and government ministries, as well as local academics and journalists; large-scale proxy interviewing of welfare beneficiaries conducted by trained Lebanese graduate students matched with coreligionist respondents; archival research; and field visits to schools, hospitals, clinics, and other social assistance programs as well as political party offices throughout the country.
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Number of pages: 336
Weight: 595 g
Dimensions: 235 x 156 x 25 mm
"Overall, Compassionate Communalism is the kind of work on non-state social welfare that fills a gap in the political economy literature. I highly recommend the book for anyone interested in Lebanese and Middle Eastern politics, political economy in weak states, ethnic politics and consocialism."-- Barea M. Sinno * International Affairs *
"A theoretically compelling, carefully researched, and well-written study of the politics of service system provision by sectarian-based parties, Compassionate Communalism is a must-read for students of service provision, clientelism, and political parties in Lebanon and beyond."-- Ellen Lust, Yale University, author of Structuring Conflict in the Arab World
"This book is a remarkable accomplishment-simultaneously a revealing look at the varied and complex dynamics of ethnic and sectarian politics in Lebanon, a profound reflection on the basic questions of political science-who gets what, when, and how-and an ingenious use of multiple methodologies in the search for nuanced, plausible, and valuable answers. In examining the on-the-ground dynamics of welfare distribution by several sectarian parties and movements, Melani Cammett shows that the various configurations of political mobilization, participation, and competition shape political patronage in surprisingly predictable patterns-from very narrowly particularistic to very broadly distributive. These findings will prove instructive not only to those interested in politics in the Middle East but also to anyone concerned with the nature of political organization and exchange, as well as admirers of well-constructed social science research."-- Lisa Anderson, The American University in Cairo
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