Bilingual SFM Conference at AUB Beirut
Through a generous donation from Carnegie Corporation, the Central European University in collaboration with Issam Fares Institute at the American University in Beirut and the Arab Council for Social Sciences, held the bilingual international conference Striking from the Margins: Religion, State and Devolution of Authority in the Arab Middle East from January 15-17, 2019 in Beirut.
The conference tackled a variety of prevailing debates, including the atrophy of state functions and new reconfigurations of state-society relations; the devolution of religious authority and the emergence of new actors in the religious field; the characteristics and manifestations of neo-patrimonialist actors and the changing roles of traditional formations such as tribes and religious entities. Furthermore, the conference was concerned with virtual transnational solidarities created by new (social) media and their effect on reshaping collectivities and identity perceptions; the political economy of disintegration and devolution, such as clientalism and rentierism as well as social dislocation and fluidity caused by political, economic and environmental transformations. In the final panel we compared the global dimension of the current dynamics in the Middle East in light of the current shift towards populism and neo-nationalism seen worldwide.