The intertextuality of civil identity: Political uses of oral discourse in post-war Lebanon
AuthorRiskedahl, Diane Renae
AdvisorPhilips, Susan U.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis dissertation draws on the specific case-study of post-war Lebanese political rhetoric in order to take a close look at the ways in which a complex amalgam of distinct and varying histories is articulated linguistically under one national rubric. Research was conducted largely in the urban Beirut region of Lebanon from 1999 to 2001. By analysis of specific linguistic strategies for maneuvering within and between interpretive frames (in particular, Arabism, Lebanese Nationalism and Sectarianism) I have illustrated how Lebanese political actors are able to draw on language, in both its form and content, in order to establish and define their political identity. I also argue that these political actors are able to accomplish social work: they modify relationships, incite discussion, and motivate change through their talk. Through various forms of linguistic incorporation speakers actively work to redefine or to reaffirm authority in the public sphere. I have tried to illustrate how the historical situatedness of the interpretive frames that they utilize affects and limits their ability to do so in a uniquely post-war Lebanese fashion, by drawing on the points of contested meaning in an environment of active political re-configuration. This focus moves away from definitive interpretations of discourse and instead concentrates on interpretive flexibility, with an eye to understanding how that flexibility is constrained. The discursive space of the Lebanese public sphere, then, becomes a primary site for political and civil identity construction through the use and re-use of political discourse.
Degree ProgramGraduate College