Mediatized Populisms| Disagreement Without Dissensus: The Contradictions of Hizbullah’s Mediatized Populism

Hatim El-Hibri


How should claims to embody “the people” be reckoned with when such claims issue from multiethnic polities? What social and cultural dynamics obtain when political actors involved in transnational and regional conflict make populist claims in divided media landscapes? This article explores these questions by examining claims to be the guarantors of national sovereignty (and at times, the voice of a truly universal patriotism) made by Hizbullah, the Lebanese political party and militia. This article explores the contradictions in Hizbullah’s populist claims by analyzing two phenomena—the commodified forms present at the party-run “Museum of the Resistance” and its gift shop, and the televised announcement of the party’s participation in the Syrian war alongside the Asad regime. Doing so demonstrates how the new right-wing populism can embody the intensified articulation of ethno-sectarian idiom within contemporary capitalist formations. I build on Rancière’s theory of dissensus, arguing that groups such as Hizbullah both claim to speak on behalf of the “part who have no part” and also represent a form of capitalist intensification. 


populism, Rancière, Hizbullah, television, museums, global media, Arab media, Lebanon, Middle East

Full Text: