Unpacking geopolitics: Urban conflict in Beirut 1975-76 (new book review)

Fregonese War and the cityIn 1975–1976, Lebanon and the city of Beirut were consumed by devastating armed conflict. But whereas this empirical fact is uncontested, its historical causes and political meanings remain controversial. Sara Fregonese’s book War and the Cityfocuses on the rationalisation of the conflict and asks: Do Western descriptions of the war live up to the realities observed in Beirut? War and the City puts the spotlight on important political practices, which are the ways actors co-construct meaning in and through their own urban environments, and how those interpretations may develop differently from far-away truth claims. This said, the book also includes (exceedingly) structuralist narratives, and it raises important questions about whose perspectives (in Beirut) are listened to and heard. Furthermore, its treatments of works from related disciplines – security studies and International Relations especially – is underdeveloped if not outright crude.

Hagmann, Jonas (2022). War and the city: Urban geopolitics in Lebanon (Sara Fregonese), London, Tauris, 2020. Urban Studies, OnlineFirst PDF