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The Resilience of Clientelist Networks in Lebanese Municipalities under the Syrian Migratory Shock: The Cases of Zahle, Baalbek, and Tripoli

Allegrini, Jean-Baptiste Nicolas; (2022) The Resilience of Clientelist Networks in Lebanese Municipalities under the Syrian Migratory Shock: The Cases of Zahle, Baalbek, and Tripoli. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis explores the durability of elite domination in the three Lebanese municipalities of Zahle, Baalbek, and Tripoli from 2010 to 2019 in the midst of the Syrian migration crisis. It compares how these clientelist actors endeavoured to retain local power after an unprecedented electoral challenge during the 2016 local elections. Since Lebanon’s independence in 1943, local politics has been controlled by competing networks of patronage which resiliently maintain their grip on municipal power. Nevertheless, the 2016 local elections revealed an unusual defiance against incumbent clientelist leaders in municipalities like Baalbek and Zahle. Moreover, in Tripoli political independents overthrew the oligarchic elites. These results outlined the frailty of clientelist loyalties in the context of a considerable socioeconomic crisis induced by the Syrian forced displacement into Lebanon. However, only two years later, the dominant clientelist actors in each municipality won the 2018 parliamentary votes in the three case cities. Patronage prevailed, once again. Therefore, the research question framing this project is: “Why did clientelist elites encounter a disruption of their leadership, and then how did they comparatively perpetuate (or recover) their local power in a context of stark material scarcity?” Clientelist domination rests structurally upon three pillars: materialism, symbolism, and collective action. Accordingly, each typology of clientelism features a set of resources which determine their respective strategies of power competition at times of crisis. This research reveals that clientelist actors do compensate or substitute ailing material means with symbolic, coercive or collective tactics of governance. Thus, despite their different profiles, clientelist actors possess comprehensive tools of power endurance supporting their resilience over time. This research uses a mixed-methods approach. It presents original fieldwork qualitative (105 elite interviews and participant observations during the 2018 legislative campaign) and quantitative data (210 survey questionnaires with Lebanese and displaced participants) collected in the three case cities from 2018 to 2019.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: The Resilience of Clientelist Networks in Lebanese Municipalities under the Syrian Migratory Shock: The Cases of Zahle, Baalbek, and Tripoli
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2022. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Political Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10155793
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