What is So Deep About ‘Deeply-Divided Societies’?

Dr. Rima Majed

What is So Deep About ‘Deeply-Divided Societies’?

Lebanon is a deeply divided society. Or so is the claim that circulates in many academic books and textbooks, research articles, journalistic accounts, and policy circles. Such claim has also been made about several other countries such as Iraq, Cyprus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kenya, Myanmar, Nepal, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Northern Ireland, and more recently Syria. But what does it really mean to classify some societies as ‘deeply divided’ and what are the implications of such categorization? Are ‘deep divisions’ always vertical and mainly ethnic or sectarian? Do we know of any ‘shallowly’ divided societies?

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