Governance and politics

Environmental vulnerability as a legacy of violent conflict: a case study of the 2012 waste crisis in the Palestinian gathering of Shabriha, South Lebanon

Maastricht School of Management

In 2012, South Lebanon faced a solid waste management crisis that particularly affected Palestinian refugee communities, which were excluded from municipal service mandates. By means of a case study of the Palestinian community living in Shabriha, this article demonstrates that the vulnerability to the environmental effects of this waste crisis ultimately stems from a legacy of violent conflict. Lebanon's fragile political order and history of protracted war have crucially shaped governance arrangements in Shabriha. These arrangements excluded Shabriha from legal dumpsites and recycling facilities and thereby decisively exacerbated the environmental consequences of the waste crisis. At first sight, Shabriha's resort to indirect, informal and politicised social networks to remedy its marginalisation constituted an effective form of resilience. However, drawing on an entitlements approach to vulnerability, we argue that these coping mechanisms also entrenched Shabriha's institutional marginalisation because they exacerbated its dependence on informal governance structures.

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