Identity Construction and «Local Democracy» in Lebanon
The article explores the relationship between identity, politics and«local democracy» in the contemporary Lebanon. Its aim is to analyse the increasing interest of the Lebanese political forces in the local dimension, in order to understand how and to which extent this is a genuine interest or a calculated interest. In the first section the article examines the aspects that, in a historical perspective, affected the construction of the State in Lebanon and had a strong impact in building the Lebanese confessional system, namely the cultural, religious and internationals factors. Those elements played a key role in slowing (and, sometimes, blocking) a process of empowerment from below that would lead to the emergence of a shared civic culture, a crucial element for the realization of a common path towards «local democracy». The second section will outline the «local decision-making process» of Lebanon, its limits and its intrinsic potential. After a short overview on the administrative structure, the article will analyze some recent projects and local dynamics (especially the municipal elections) in order to show how the«local democracy» dimension in Lebanon, despite its progress, is still deeply rooted.