Dilemmas of Democracy and Political Parties in Sectarian Societies

Lebanon 1949-85
Richani, Nazih
Date published: 
May 1998

The problems faced by the nation of Lebanon reflect those that confront all multi-ethnic societies. In this volume, Nazih Richani examines the intricacies of Lebanese political life in order to unearth what it might teach us about such societies as well as about the Middle East in general. Richani provides an in-depth study of the political sociology and behavior of the Progressive Socialist Party (PSP), one of Lebanon's most important political parties. He points out how the case of the PSP illustrates the dilemmas suffered by Lebanese political parties since the country's independence in 1943. In so doing, Richani explains how a party is constructed in a multi-ethnic society, how social composition influences the decisions made as well as the dynamics of a party, and answers the questions of what affects a party's development, how did and do leaders interpret and adjust to these developments, and how do these developments alter the party's proclaimed views and - ultimately - its goals. A thoroughly researched investigation into the political anatomy of one country, Dilemmas of Democracy and Political Parties in Lebanon helps to fill a lamentable gap in research on political parties in the Middle East.