Preaching Development: Shi’i Piety and Neoliberalism in Beirut

Fouad Gehad Marei

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Since 2006, Lebanon’s Shi’i community witnessed significant transformations shaped by Hezbollah’s two promises: to secure the release of detainees in Israeli prisons through armed resistance, and to rebuild and redevelop Dahiya “more beautiful than it was.” In its effort to fulfill its two promises, the party’s socio-urban intervention revealed spaces of compatibility between a political project of perpetual defiance toward US-led globalized politics of intervention and development models premised on a hybrid re-creation and recasting of neoliberalism. The discursive combination of religion and piety with neoliberal economic rationale in the post-2006 urban revitalization demonstrates how neoliberalism in Dahiya is contingent on and interacts with Hezbollah’s Resistance project. This paper demonstrates that members of “the Resistance society” are instructed to behave in a proactive and entrepreneurial fashion not only for economic motives, but also to “pave the road to Jerusalem,” achieve victory against “the Great Satan” and, ultimately, come closer to God. While Shi’i piety and the Hezbollah-led Resistance project may be in perpetual defiance to US-led globalization, they do not necessarily mark a rupture with the precepts of the neoliberal economic rationale.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReligious Activism in the Global Economy
Subtitle of host publicationPromoting, Reforming or Resisting Neoliberal Globalization?
EditorsSabine Dreher, Peter J. Smith
Place of PublicationLondon/New York
PublisherRowman & Littlefield
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)978-1-78348-697-7, 978-1-78348-696-0
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Marei, Fouad G. 2016. “Preaching Development: Shi’i Piety and Neoliberalism in Beirut”. In: Religious Activism in the Global Economy: Promoting, Reforming or Resisting Neoliberal Globalization?, ed. by Sabine Dreher and Peter J. Smith. Washington, DC: Rowman and Littlefield, pp. 167–187.


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