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Youth Mobilization in Lebanon: Navigating Exclusion and Seeds for Collective Action


This paper investigates youth mobilization in Lebanon. It is organized in two main sections. The first section analyses patterns of youth inclusion and exclusion in the context of Lebanese sectarian politics, showing how partisan groups, religious and family authorities lock-in the youth. It then moves to an overview of “independent” NGOs, examining youth mobilization in NGOs since 2005. It focuses on the role of youth-led organizations (YLOs) and youth-relevant organizations (YROs) in three policy domains: entrepreneurship, personal rights and spatial planning. The second section reflects on NGOs’ professionalization and on youth’s related demobilization, discussing how youth’s associational life reproduces sectarian politics, and depoliticizes engagement. I also examine the rise of coalitions, arguing that they may be the components for future collective action, and reflect on whether this can form the seeds of an independent social movement among the youth. The paper concludes with a synthesis of opportunities and challenges facing youth mobilization in Lebanon.

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