The road to Israeli citizenship: The case of the South Lebanese Army (SLA)

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4 Scopus citations


The symbolic economy of refugeeness is interconnected with wider discourses on demography, citizenship, and nationality in the complexity of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. By restructuring their image, elites in Israel were able to 'neutralize' the South Lebanese Army (SLA), changing the perception of them from aggressors to victims. Israel could justify the absorption of Muslim Arabs if they were refugees. However, the close propinquity to the 'Palestinian Refugee Problem' compelled this label to be removed from the SLA. Rather than an essential description of a social situation, the notion of refugees is a symbolic signifier added and removed in line with its political resonance. The road to Israeli citizenship was mediated through the symbolic construction of the SLA as refugees. Thus, citizenship in each country is not a constant ideal as it is influenced by both global trends and internal social structures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)575-592
Number of pages18
JournalCitizenship Studies
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Citizenship
  • Israel
  • Refugees
  • Symbolic economy
  • The South Lebanese Army (SLA)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Political Science and International Relations


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