Assignment: Conduct field research and draft an original analysis of the Lebanese Intifada of October 2019
Starting Date: March 2020
Duration: Nine months
Location: Beirut, Lebanon
Since 17 October 2019, hundreds of thousands of Lebanese women and men have poured onto the streets across the country, blaming the political elite for corruption, failing public services and driving the economy to the brink. The protests were sparked by anger at the government’s announcement of further tax plans.
Despite clashes involving the security forces and some political factions, the protests have remained non-violent to a large extent. Contrary to previous uprisings that were managed by political parties (2005) or spearheaded by civil society groups (2015), the current protests are grassroots and decentralised in character.
Five months into the mass mobilisations, protesters have developed spaces for and a practice of direct political dialogue on many squares, streets or previously public but now privatised properties. Lebanese are not only protesting; they are discussing with each other in large numbers. Furthermore, while the protests and debates are not directed by seasoned activists or politicians, people exercise effective leadership at smaller, local levels in organising discussions, marches and roadblocks. Women, students and young people, who are often at the political and economic margins of society, have played a conspicuous role in the organisation.
The aim of the publication is to analyse and document the 2019 uprisings in Lebanon and the unfolding political, economic and financial crises. We invite contributions that help us consider better ways of conceptualising these developments and their repercussions on the political system, civic engagement and socio-economic relations.
Against this backdrop, the contributions can address one or more of the following themes:
• History: Placing the movement of 17 October 2019 in Lebanese, Middle Eastern and global history (discussion of nature of the movement, “intifada”, “revolution”).
• The Intifada perspective “from below”. Keywords: the movement, the constituting groups, their demands, question of leadership, aspects of gender, women, youth, the street as political actor, the future of the mobilisations.
• The Intifada seen from “above”. Keywords: political elites and parties, reactions to “the street”, process of government formation, system change, the electoral framework.
• The political economy, including a reflection on the banking system from a holistic perspective, i. e. the banking crisis before the Intifada, how banks are perceived by the movement, the devaluation of the Lira, international aspects.
• “Cultural” aspects of the Intifada, including slogans, chants, practices, rituals, performing the Intifada.
• Public space, appropriation of space, question of neighbourhoods, memories of the Civil War.
Under the guidance of the research supervisors, the contributors will draft a paper according to the following guidelines:
• Develop a detailed outline for the paper that includes a proposed methodology and a theoretical framework, and revise it based on the input of the supervisors;
• Conduct primary research, e.g. field surveys/observations, interviews and ethnographic research;
• Provide an analysis on the Lebanese Intifada along the guidelines of this Call for Papers;
• Produce a manuscript of no more than 6,000 words, including a bibliography (according to international academic standards) and a highly readable summary;
• The paper should be written in a clear, engaging style, intended for a broad audience. The written language is English;
• The contributors must be available in person for regular meetings to discuss the research progress;
• Review and proof-read the final publication after copy-editing and layout. The authors will receive a lump sum payment of EUR 2,000 or equivalent in LBP at official rates upon fulfilment of all deliverables.
• University degree in Social Sciences, History. Anthropology, Political Science, Economics, Law, Media Studies or equivalent;
• Publication record or journalistic experience on thematic areas relevant to this Call;
• Experience with research methodologies, conducting fieldwork and data collection in challenging environments is desirable;
• Excellent writing and analytical skills; ability to digest complex issues and translate them into a concise, straightforward and engaging narrative, requiring minimum revision;
• Excellent command of written and spoken English; fluency in spoken Arabic is a requirement;
• The contributor must be residing in Lebanon during the duration of the project.
Priority will be given to submissions that adopt critical approaches to related concepts and categories, engage with a solid theoretical framework and are based on empirical research.
We encourage contributions from early career researchers, PhD candidates, practitioners, journalists, activists and civil society experts.
• April 2020: Inception meeting with all contributing authors.
• May 2020: Submission of a detailed paper outline. Attendance of an input session with all contributors.
• June 2020: Submission of the first draft. Attendance of an input session with all contributors.
• Early July 2020: Peer-reviewing session. Attendance of an input session with all contributors.
• September 2020: Submission of the final paper.
• Late October 2020: Proof-reading the publication.
• Early December 2020: Launching event.
If you are interested in this Call, please send your application in English, consisting of:
(1) an Expression of Interest that outlines how you believe your experience and knowledge meet our specifications,
(2) your Curriculum Vitae,
(3) 1–2 published papers on topics related to this Call,
(4) a 500-word abstract (incl. tentative title), and
(5) a one-page draft outline of the proposed paper
Please mention “CfP Intifada 2019 – Lebanon” in the subject line and refer to the source where you have found this call. Only complete applications will be considered.
Closing date for applications is 20th of March 2020 at 12:00 pm, local time (Beirut).
We reserve the right to close this advert earlier as we will be reviewing applications on a rolling basis. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. Interviews will be held in-person at the Orient-Institut Beirut.
Rue Hussein Beyhum 44
Tel: +961 (1) 359 173
The Orient-Institut (OIB) is an independent research institution for the Humanities and Social Sciences, conducting research on the Middle East in interdisciplinary and comparative ways. It was founded in 1961 and is today a member of the Max Weber Foundation, comprising currently 10 German Humanities and Social Sciences Institutes Abroad.
Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (Lebanon Office)
157 Marfaa’ – 1st Fl.
Rue 73 (Saad Zaghloul)
Majidiye – Beirut 2012 7306
Tel. +961 (0)1 998 559/60
The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) is the oldest political foundation in Germany with a rich tradition in social democracy dating back to its foundation in 1925. Our work focuses on the core ideas and values of social democracy – freedom, justice and solidarity. This connects us to social democracy and free trade unions. As a non-profit institution, we organise our work autonomously and independently.
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