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The search for national identity in post-colonial, multi-communal states : the cases of Eritrea and Lebanon,1941-1991

This thesis is a comparative analysis of the process of national identity formation in Eritrea and Lebanon, examining the different paths both societies took after the end of the European colonial/mandate regimes up until the early 1990s. Grounded in theories relating to the concepts of nationalism and national identity, a contrast-orient history approach is taken that seeks to unpack the international, regional, and domestic factors that impacted on the formation of national identity in both cases. The creation of both countries by their respective colonial and mandate power, Italy and France, took place under different circumstances and by different means. Yet in both cases different communities, half of which were Muslim and the other half Christian, were joined under a single administration. The fact that in both Eritrea and Lebanon one of the communities had nationalist aspirations linked to the larger neighbouring political entity of co-religionists hampered the transfer of allegiances to the newly created entity and the development of a cohesive national identity in the wake of being granted self-determination. This thesis argues that, despite their different treatment by the international community with regards to their right to self-determination, a form of syncretistic nationalism developed in the territorial entities created by the colonial/mandate powers in both Eritrea and Lebanon. While Lebanon was able to obtain independence from the French in 1943, Eritrea was not granted independence after the defeat of their colonial master, Italy. Instead, federation and finally annexation by Ethiopia resulted in thirty years of liberation struggle. Thus this thesis affirms the aptness of the concept of syncretistic nationalism for multicommunal societies while attesting to the difficulties of its development and realisation through the analysis of the process of national identity formation in Eritrea and Lebanon.
Date January 2014
CreatorsRyseck, Laura
PublisherLondon School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Source SetsEthos UK
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation

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