Communicating Contentious Politics: Social Movements and Networked Communication in the Arab World

Thursday November 30, 2017

Interest in social movements in the Arab World piqued following the so-called Arab Spring and heralded a series of publications, some of which focused exclusively on the digital media. While the digital media has certainly allowed civil society “to survive, deliberate, coordinate and expand” as Manuel Castells succinctly put it, focusing exclusively on cyberspace is wholly inadequate as it overlooks socio-political factors, displaces agency and overlooks other forms of communication from the traditional media to interpersonal communication.

This project will bring together scholars working in the fields of networked communication and social movement research in both Lebanon and the region. Papers will probe the public self-representation of these movements, the manner in which they frame their claims, communicate with the polity, and how they are perceived. This project will also look at both contemporary and historical movements ranging from the communicative strategies of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the workers’ movement in pre-civil war Lebanon to the “hashtagable” You Stink movement that erupted in Lebanon in 2015.

A Survey of Life Skills Programmes for Girls in Lebanon

The Centre for Lebanese Studies partnered with the Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI) to carry out research for the improvement of knowledge about life skills programs delivered in non-formal contexts to adolescent girls. As part of the wider research, CLS mapped ongoing life skills programs in Lebanon that target adolescent girls. The project was followed up by surveys and interviews with girls participating in these programs in order to gather information about the importance of context in determining which life skills are taught, and should be taught, to girls in non-formal contexts.

Knowledge Production in Arab Countries: The Case of History Education

The Case of History Education

The Centre for Lebanese Studies conducted a regional study commissioned by the Arab Educational Information Network (Shamaa) entitled “Knowledge Production in Arab Countries: The Case of History Education.” This project included conducting descriptive and analytical studies and comparisons of articles published in Arabic educational periodicals, especially in comparison with international periodicals of the same quality.  The project also included conducting interviews with editorial boards, and workshops with chief editors of some of the Arabic periodicals and board members of international educational journals. The aim of the project was to influence the issues on educational research that appear in Arabic periodicals, and to present ideas and recommendations that help developing publishing in Arabic educational periodicals and improving the quality of educational research in general.

Citizenship and Exclusion in Lebanon 2016

The aim of the project was to examine how conceptions of citizenship change in contexts of significant political upheaval in Lebanon. This was led by the current CLS Fellow at St Anthony’s College, Oxford. The project’s two main objectives are understanding: i) the conditions and processes of change, and ii) the ‘actors’: who and how such discourses are produced and interact.

Conceptions of ‘citizenship’ are of great relevance across a wide range of policy domains, including education, immigration, naturalization, refugees and social integration.  This project is particularly relevant today, at a time when citizen revolts across the Arab world reflect urgent calls for a new ‘social contract’ between citizens and the state, challenging the scales of exclusion and sub-levels of citizenship that pervasively affect people’s lives. This research has the potential to contribute to the intellectual history of citizenship beyond Lebanon, challenging traditional conceptions of citizenship, democracy, civil society, equality and justice.

For further information contact: Dina Kiwan. Email address: dina.kiwan@sant.ox.ac.uk

Human Rights and Peace Education in Lebanese Civics Textbooks 2015

In 1997 the Lebanese government published its newly developed curriculum and textbooks following a long and fierce civil war, which started in 1975. The new curriculum emphasized nation building, reconciliation and citizenship. This study aims to examine how the civics textbooks in Lebanon addressed human rights and peace education, both of which are crucial in any attempt to build cohesion in a post-conflict society. Findings revealed that human rights and peace education were endorsed in the aims and objectives of the 1997 curriculum. The textbooks directly addressed some of these themes, particularly human rights and to a lesser degree peace education. The pedagogy followed in the textbooks to teach the two concepts was primarily descriptive. Despite the fact that the constructivist approach has been adopted as part of the curriculum objectives, implementation of this approach is almost absent from the civics textbooks. The study compares these results to citizenship education in two other countries in the region, Turkey and Palestine.

Read more about the paper published on the research:
Human Rights and Peace Education in The Lebanese Citizenship Textbooks: A Comparative Lens

Reform for Citizenship Education in Lebanon

In Sept 2012, the Centre for Lebanese Studies, the Institute for Education at University of London, Lebanese Association for Educational Studies (LAES) and Association for Citizenship Teaching (ACT) established a consortium and won the bid to implement a citizenship education reform initiated by the Lebanese Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MEHE)  and funded by the European Commission EuropeAid/131-916/M/ACT/LB.

The programme translates the third priority of the National Education Strategy developed by the Lebanese Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MEHE) in 2010. This project supports all the activities of one of its ten components, Citizenship Education. Reform for Citizenship Education includes three main activities:

  • Evaluate and develop the citizenship education curricula and its learning and teaching resources.
  • Teachers and administrator to implement active citizenship program.
  • Develop democratic school environment through parent and student councils and community service programs.

In Sept 2012, the project was launched at the Ministry of Education with the presence of the General Director and citizenship committee members and relevant stakeholders.

For 30 months the consortiums members will work closely with the Education Ministry to enhance its capacity in planning, implementing and monitoring of the education sector reforms. The project specific objectives will focus on:

  • Update the citizenship education curriculum and textbooks to promote active citizenship behaviours among students
  • Train teachers, school principals and administrative staff to foster the concepts and implement the practices of active citizenship,
  • Enhance the role and function of Parent Councils, establish Student Councils and develop students’ capacity and empower them to participate in the school’s life,
  • Pilot a community service program in 100 public secondary schools
Funded by European Commission

Funded by European Commission

A Whole School Approach to Education for Social Cohesion

The Project studied the process and impact of implementing a whole-school approach to active and skills-based citizenship education that involved a series of interventions including providing teacher professional development, reshaping school culture and providing opportunities for more inclusive and active student engagement in.

This approach was developed in the light of previous research by CLS which showed that schools adopting this model were more successful in promoting active and critical citizenship. The study was carried out in four secondary schools (one private in Mt. Lebanon, three public in Beirut, Mount Lebanon and the North).  Initial findings highlighted the important role of mentoring in developing teachers’ practices. It also emphasized the role of the school management in promoting an active and critical notion of citizenship education. The importance of reflection for review and development of new practices (e.g. setting up a student council, adopting new teaching approach) was very apparent though out the study.

Read more about the paper published on the research:

دلالات تأثير تهميش التماسك الاجتماعي في المدارس الثانوية في اتجاهات التلامذة السياسية والاجتماعية والمدنية في لبنان

Rethinking Education for Social Cohesion: International case studies