Print version

La nascita di nuovi populismi nel panorama sunnita libanese


From 2011 to 2016, dramatic changes occurred within the Lebanese Sunni community, eventually resulting in a significant rebalancing of intra-communitarian equilibria. Indeed, new political players have been able to cleverly ride on a widespread feeling of anger and frustration, stemming from a multi-level crisis that has affected the whole community since the traumatic events of 2005. This article explores the possibility of employing populism as an innovative analytical tool to interpret political trends currently underway in the Lebanese Sunni community. Notably, starting from the definition of populism as stylistic repertoire, it delves into the nexus between populism and religion and then extends the analysis to the securitisation theory, with some insights from social psychology. Accordingly, religion is investigated as a winning variable in the construction of a successful securitisation. In the context of the Lebanese Sunnism, the combination of internal political fragmentation and broad sense of insecurity and alienation has eroded the representation’s monopoly, once owned by the Hariris, and paved the way to the emergence of new populist contenders. By fiercely deploying anti-shia claims —-where anti-Shiism discloses the protectionist and horizontal rationale of this populism, forging a religious securitisation— and anti-élites/State institutions rhetoric —populism’s vertical component— they seek to politically capitalise the Sunni street’s anger, in an attempt to gain power and control over the community. The lack of a strong political leadership and the simultaneous sparkling rise of Hizballah fuel a sense of impending crisis that entails to urgently act and find a strong man to redeem the community.