Yasemin Ipek

Grant Type

Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship

Institutional Affiliation

George Mason U.

Grant number

Gr. 10376

Approve Date

October 11, 2022

Project Title

Ipek, Yasemin (George Mason U.) "Crisiswork: Activism, Class-Making, and Bounded Futures in Lebanon"

My book Crisiswork is a study of the emergent forms of activism and political subjectivity in contemporary Lebanon in relation to lived experiences of crisis. Since 2011, the war in neighboring Syria has paralyzed Lebanon’s already fragile politics and economy, leaving many Lebanese feeling stuck in recurrent crises. Crisiswork asks, ‘How has the recent mobilization of civil society activism shaped politics and everyday life in Lebanon?’ I answer this question by ethnographically studying activism as a contentious field of translocal encounters between a wide range of self-identified activists such as unemployed NGO volunteers, middle-class consultants, leftist intellectuals, and humanitarian workers. What I call ‘crisiswork’ refers to everyday activist practices that sought to transform both individual moralities and affects and political and social structures to solve Lebanon’s crises. I argue that crisiswork broadened the scope of the political by redefining activism as a struggle to undo crises within both the political system and everyday life. Rather than studying activism either as reproduction of or resistance to power, Crisiswork examines activism as a field of contradictory processes by drawing on decolonial approaches that emphasize differences among seemingly unified activists, and employing an intersectional analysis of entanglements of sect, class, race, and gender.