Lost in the Transitions of Lebanon’s Second Republic: The Political Economy of (Un)governable Institutions, Practices and Crises

Joseph P. Helou


This article employs Giddens’ theory of structuration to identify why the practices of powersharing among the political elite in the context of post-war settings can spawn inflection points that divert the political process off course and incubate avenues for other transitions. It aims to explain how elite power sharing fragmented governance in Lebanon’s sectarian system, while incubating disagreements that necessitated further transitions. It highlights three transitions in post-war Lebanon: (A) the post-Taif process (1990–2005), (B) the post-2005 transition following the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon (2005–2019) and (C) the post-October 17 2019 transition. It finds that the reinforcement of elite practices of power sharing, patron-client networks and the apportionment of Lebanon’s political economy across the aforementioned phases have depleted state resources, which resulted in the sovereign debt crisis of 2020. It shows that the lack of national resources will most likely make Lebanese elites more eager to play a larger role in the informal sector, thus surviving on the resources of individuals.


sectarianism, informality, governance, Giddens, structuration, Taif Accords, Doha Accords, 17 October 2019 Uprising.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.58036/stss.v15i1.1150


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