Architecture, Power and Religion in Lebanon

Rafiq Hariri and the Politics of Sacred Space in Beirut

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In Architecture, Power and Religion in Lebanon, Ward Vloeberghs explores Rafiq Hariri’s patronage and his posthumous legacy to demonstrate how religious architecture becomes a site for power struggles in contemporary Beirut. By tracing the 150 year-long history of the Muhammad al-Amin Mosque – Lebanon’s principal Sunni mosque – and the subsequent development of the site as a commemoration venue, this account offers a unique illustration of how architecture, religion and power become discursively and visually entangled. Set in a multi-confessional society marked by social inequalities and political fragmentation, this interdisciplinary study analyses how architectural practice and urban reconfigurations reveal a nascent personality cult, communal mourning, and the consolidation of political territory in relation to constantly shifting circumstances.

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Ward Vloeberghs studied Arab & Islamic Studies and Politics. He is currently a Senior Lecturer in Political Science at the Erasmus University College in Rotterdam and focuses on political sociology in the Arab world.
All interested in Lebanese politics and students, scholars, journalists, and professionals concerned with the contemporary Middle East, as well as social scientists with an interest in material expressions of power and urban politics.