The Interaction of Lebanese State Institutions and Palestinian Authorities: MSM’s Nora Stel Awarded her PhD

On 18 February Nora Stel successfully defended her doctoral thesis Governing the Gatherings, The Interaction of Lebanese State Institutions and Palestinian Authorities in the Hybrid Political Order of South Lebanon’s Informal Palestinian Settlements.

Nora Stel is currently working as Assistant Professor of Governance and Human Rights at Maastricht School of Management and is an affiliated scholar with the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut.

She conducted her doctoral research at Utrecht University’s Centre for Conflict Studies and was supervised by Prof. Dr. Georg Frerks and Prof. Dr. Wim Naudé, and co-supervised by Dr. Irna van der Molen.

Prior to her thesis defense Nora was interviewed on the Dutch national radio (NPO radio 1) where she elaborated on her research and her findings.

Abstract
Public authority beyond the state is often seen as isolated from or constituting a threat to the state. Increasingly, however, ‘state’ and ‘non-state’ forms of governance are understood as closely connected and interdependent. Nora Stel’s dissertation contributes to this theoretical shift by means of a qualitative case-study of tow informal Palestinian refugee settlements – so-called ‘gatherings’ – in South Lebanon.

Based on extensive fieldwork, it explores the everyday interactions between Lebanese local state institutions and the ‘Popular Committees’ that govern inside Palestinian settlements. Lebanon’s Palestinian camps are routinely characterized as ‘states-within-the-state’ that undermine the sovereignty of the Lebanese state. The de facto interactions that occur between Lebanese and Palestinian governance actors in informal settlements, however, instead produce a form of mediated stateness. As such, the Palestinian Popular Committees might in important ways prop up rather than challenge the Lebanese state, demonstrating that state and non-state forms of authority can be mutually constitutive.

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Palestinian Refugee Camps in Lebanon States within the State or Hybrid form of Governance
Entrepreneurship in a Hybrid Political Order, The Case of Lebanon

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