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Sermons & Politics: The Role of Religious Institutions in Political Messaging
Places of worship are omnipresent throughout Lebanon, both in urban spaces and rural settings. This is unsurprising given that sectarian identity is Lebanon’s primary cleavage, enshrined in the country’s constitution and constituting a key division among the various political parties. But what role do religious institutions play in political communication and organization? Much scholarly work has focused on how the country’s fragmented media landscape serves to promote and solidify sectarian belonging. But are local religious institutions spaces for politicking? Utilizing semi-structured interviews and observational data from religious sermons in a paired comparison of Shia mosques in South Lebanon and Maronite churches in Mount Lebanon, this paper examines the role that places of worship may play in fostering identification with, or promoting messaging from, Lebanon’s major political parties.
Political Science
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