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Socialisation and its Tragic Ironies

Adham Saouli

Paperback (Forthcoming)
Hardback (Forthcoming)

Explains Hezbollah’s ceaseless drive for survival and the unintended, tragic consequences it has generated

What drives Hezbollah’s political behaviour? For three decades we believed that the impetus of establishing an Islamic state in Lebanon was its main goal. This book disagrees. Drawn from over fifteen years of research, it traces Hezbollah’s political trajectory, or socialisation process, from its birth in 1982 to 2017. It identifies the religio-political identity and doctrine that inspire Hezbollah and the politico-strategic goals that motivate it. It argues that war-making with Israel has driven Hezbollah’s socialisation in Lebanon and the region, transforming the Islamist movement from a loose organization into one of the world’s most powerful and sophisticated armed political movements.

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List of Abbreviations

List of Figures

Glossary of Arabic Terms

Preface - Mask or Mirror?

Chapter 1. On Socialisation and its Discontents

Chapter 2. Being Hezbollah

Chapter 3. Hezbollah Makes War, War Makes Hezbollah

Chapter 4. War-making as International Socialisation

Chapter 5. Tragic Ironies


About the Author

Adham Saouli is Senior Lecturer in International Relations, University of St. Andrews. His research focuses on state formation, social movements and international relations of the Middle East. He is the author of "The Arab State: Dilemmas of Late Formation" (Routledge, 2012). His study "Performing the Egyptian Revolution: Origins of Collective Restraint Action in the Midan" (Political Studies, 2015) was nominated for the Harrison Prize.


This theoretically innovative and empirically rich treatment of Hezbollah’s socialisation disrupts many myths about the organization. In situating its trajectory within both Hobbesian and Lockean anarchical spheres, Saouli demonstrates the flexibility and responsiveness of the group to its immediate domestic and regional surroundings.

- Samer Abboud, Associate Professor Global Interdisciplinary Studies, Villanova University

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