Architecture, Power and Religion in Lebanon
Rafiq Hariri and the Politics of Sacred Space in Beirut
Dec 4 2015
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In Architecture, Power and Religion in Lebanon, Ward Vloeberghs explores Rafiq Hariri's patronage and his posthumous legacy to demonstrate how religious architecture becomes a site for power struggles in contemporary Beirut. By tracing the 150 year-long history of the Muhammad al-Amin Mosque - Lebanon's principal Sunni mosque - and the subsequent development of the site as a commemoration venue, this account offers a unique illustration of how architecture, religion and power become discursively and visually entangled. Set in a multi-confessional society marked by social inequalities and political fragmentation, this interdisciplinary study analyses how architectural practice and urban reconfigurations reveal a nascent personality cult, communal mourning, and the consolidation of political territory in relation to constantly shifting circumstances.