International Relations scholarship posits that legitimacy, authority and violence are attributes of states. However, groups like Hizballah clearly challenge this framing of global politics through its continued ability to exercise violence in the regional arena. Surveying the different and sometimes conflicting interpretations of state-society relations in Lebanon, this book presents a lucid examination of the socio-political conditions that gave rise to the Lebanese movement Hizballah from 1982 until the present. Framing and analysing Hizballah through the perspective of the 'resistance society'; an articulation of identity politics that informs the violent and non-violent political strategies of the movement, Abboud and Muller demonstrate how Hizballah poses a challenge to the Lebanese state through its acquisition and exercise of private authority, and the implications this has for other Lebanese political actors. An essential insight into the complexities of the workings of Hizballah, this book broadens our understanding of how legitimacy, authority and violence can be acquired and exercised outside the structure of the sovereign nation-state. An invaluable resource for scholars working in the fields of Critical Comparative Politics and International Relations.
’Challenging traditional notions of authority, legitimacy, and indeed what it means to be a non-state or sub-state actor in world politics, Rethinking Hizballah is invaluable in understanding the roots, dynamics, and possibilities of current Middle Eastern politics and the role of Hizballah in Lebanon. Based on extensive interviews and a deep engagement with IR theory, this is a must-read for serious thinkers about sovereignty, legitimacy, postcolonialism, and violence.’ Mark B. Salter, University of Ottawa, Canada