Browsing by Subject "Hezbollah"

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  • Hudson, Sarah (2010)
    This research forms a discursive analysis of almost two decades of key statements delivered by Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, secretary-general of the Lebanese nationalist militia and political party, Hezbollah. The statements, sourced primarily from a translated compilation edited by Nicholas Noe and published by Verso (2007), reflect the continually evolving populist strategies of a party which has, against many odds, gained a large and impressively cross-sectarian support base in Lebanon and the surrounding region. The aim of the study is two-pronged. It hopes to offer an insightful analysis into the pragmatic politicking of a democratically elected, yet demonstrably lethally armed political party which is possessed of the potential to greatly influence peace and conflict in the region. It also seeks to promote an alternative theoretical perspective to research which continually seeks to locate similar such case studies on an ideologically loaded matrix of'terrorism vs. freedom fighter'. The theory outlined in Ernesto Laclau's 'On Populist Reason' (2005) functions as the framework for analysis. This non-pathological theory of populism provides an excellent lens through which to more objectively examine the way in which popular support is mobilized by what may be essentially democratic, yet highly controversial political movements. After analyzing constructions of 'the enemy', 'the people' and the role of the signifier of resistance over three separate chronological time periods, the research concludes that the politicking of Hezbollah has witnessed a significant discursive shift away from the rhetoric of extremism and towards that of political moderation. This analysis is noteworthy at a time when dominant western political discourses proclaim the dangers of openly 'fundamentalist' or extremist discourses as a threat to the ideals of global liberal democracy. It is concluded that political research should not underestimate the intelligence and pragmatism of groups who build, mobilize and maintain their support as powerful, armed and potentially dangerous non-state actors. A theoretical approach which allows for the insightful analysis of discursive phenomena, within the context of important socio-political factors, retains more likelihood of offering genuine insight into the popular political as it relates to a volatile regional and potentially global context.
  • Kupula, Eveliina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    This paper examines Hezbollah’s identity construction and ideology from its establishment in 1985 until 2009. Hezbollah is a hybrid organization, consisting of military, social and political structures, and it’s designed as a terrorist organization by several states and organizations. After its participation in the Lebanese politics from 1992 onwards, it has adjusted its rhetoric and objectives to match the domestic environment and its demands, however preserving its resistance and Shi’i religious identity as integral parts of its articulation. This study shows that despite more moderate language, Hezbollah has been successful in sustaining its key identity and reasoning behind its political agendas. The theoretical ground of this study derives from Ernesto Laclau’s post-foundationalist discourse theory, which suggests that meanings, structures and social relations are always discursively constructed, transformed and dissolved. The data under scrutiny consists of Hezbollah’s Open letter of 1985, the Parliamentary election programs of 1992, 1996, 2000 and 2005, the New manifesto (2009), Statement of Purpose (1998) and Hizbullah: Identity and Goals –statement (2004). These documents are English translations from the original Arabic documents, translated by Joseph Alagha. A logics approach, as introduced by Jason Glynos and David Howarth, is applied to single out the social, political and fantasmatic logics in Hezbollah’s articulation. The aim is to show how these logics have discursively shaped the identity of Hezbollah and its ideology, considering the historical social and political context, as well as outside influence affecting these processes. This study takes part in the research of armed non-state actors and Islamist movements, having social and political structures and agendas in addition to military objectives. This paper shows that resistance and religion have remained as the main identifications of Hezbollah throughout the timeframe. These identities rest heavily on historical narratives and reasoning, reviving the historical Shi’i narratives of hardship, martyrdom and early resistance. Hezbollah is often viewed as a regional actor that is heavily dependent on Iran and its funding, as well as on its ally Syria. Therefore, the regional changes, conflicts and power balance affect its articulation and orientation throughout the timeframe. A variety of identities stand out in the documents: while focusing on presenting itself as a solely Lebanese movement after the elections of 1992, it has strived to present itself also as a pan-Arabist and pan-Islamist movement, stressing the Arab and Muslim identities of the region. This paper concludes that in the center of Hezbollah’s identity construction and ideology is the antagonistic relationship with its stated enemies: America, Israel and other imperialist powers. By constructing a picture of a hostile enemy through the processes of differentiation and equivalence it also legitimizes its existence as a militant organization. In the future, this study will serve as a historical overview on Hezbollah’s identity and self-legitimization from a discursive viewpoint.