The description is submitted to:


Session C5035 (Everyday Life of Sectarianism in the Middle East: Ambivalent Articulations of “Sectarian” Difference and the “Other”), 2017
Sectarianism is a difficult and contentious term. It has been misused and abused in popular media discourses which describe sectarianism as immutable conflicts based on religious difference. At the same time, in the case of Lebanon, ethno-religious identity does matter in ways that are processional, contingent and relational to other forms of differentiation like gender, class, sexuality, and particularly when it comes to urban social differences – spatial. My work builds on the careful scholarship of historians and anthropologists of Lebanon, while looking at the everydayness of how people mobilize and understand ethnic and/or religious identity in a working-class suburb of Beirut called Bourj Hammoud. By incorporating an analysis of the everyday ways that people procure basic services like medical care, education and housing, as well as urban planning and provisioning processes involving utilities, bridges and roads, my work is an attempt to take seriously the ways in which these material processes of city making help to recalibrate notions of sectarian belonging and exclusion.