Hanna Pfeifer

Lebanese Hezbollah is arguably the most powerful armed non-state actor currently active. Founded as an Islamic resistance movement against Israeli occupation in the 1970s and 1980s, Hezbollah is considered a terrorist organisation by several Western states and, since 2016, by the Arab League and the Gulf Cooperation Council. Since 2015, it is known to have been involved in several armed conflicts in the Middle East, most importantly as a supporter of the Assad regime in the Syrian civil war, but also as a provider of military training for resistance groups in Iraq and Yemen.

At the same time, however, Hezbollah representatives have been part of all Lebanese governments since 2011 and they occupy a number of seats in Parliament. Finally, Hezbollah is also a very active provider of social and welfare services in the Lebanese South and the Beqaa.

For all of the roles it takes, Hezbollah has often been described as a hybrid organisation, which escapes established typologies of both Islamism and terrorism. The chapter, based on the author’s field research in Lebanon, seeks to explore and map the variety of recognition practices that revolve around Hezbollah. It analyses what kind of recognition Hezbollah seeks from different audiences, among them the Lebanese and transnational Shiite community, the Lebanese people, competing political parties in Lebanon, and Western and Middle Eastern states, as well as international organisations. It traces how recognition-granters react to Hezbollah’s claims and what consequences these parallel processes of recognition, non-recognition and mis-recognition have on inner-Lebanese and regional conflict dynamics.

in Armed non-state actors and the politics of recognition
What we have learned and what lies ahead
Harold Trinkunas

This chapter assesses the overall contribution of this volume to the understanding of the role of recognition processes in resolving internal conflicts between states and armed non-state actors. It finds that this volume demonstrates that recognition among actors in conflict is an important part of resolving conflicts, but that actors and audiences for recognition acts face important political, psychological and legal limits to their use of this mechanism to further the cause of peace. The chapter concludes that emerging trends such as the fraying of the liberal international order, the return of great power competition and the rise of deliberate disinformation campaigns online may make it even more difficult to use recognition to resolve conflicts in years to come.

in Armed non-state actors and the politics of recognition
Chien-peng Chung

The chapter analyses the Chinese government’s practices towards the Uyghurs as a form of mis-recognition. In particular, it argues that, while the government has granted the Uyghurs some forms of economic participation and pursued policies of affirmative action, the dominant strategy remains that of delegitimising the Uyghurs’ identity claims.

The chapter unfolds its argument by engaging different concepts of (mis-)recognition for analysing the Chinese government’s behaviour towards the Uyghurs. First, it introduces the concepts of mis-recognition and labelling, and contextualises those within the broader recognition literature. It demonstrates how the Chinese government made use of the terrorism label in order to delegitimise the Uyghurs’ political grievances. It goes on to discuss the notions of respect and disrespect, and the dichotomy between recognition and redistribution, arguing that the latter cannot replace the former and may even amount to mis-recognition: the framing of the Uyghurs’ problem as economic grievances precisely undermines their quest for recognition as an indigenous Turkic Muslim community in China’s Xinjiang region. The chapter argues that being recognised in terms of one’s own identity is essential to transforming Uyghur armed non-state actor (ANSAs) into non-violent actors. It discusses the question of whether to talk to ANSAs among the Uyghurs or not and, based on this, formulates policy recommendations.

in Armed non-state actors and the politics of recognition
The case of the Provisional Irish Republican Army
Carolin Görzig

According to ripeness theory, a conflict becomes ripe for resolution when a ‘mutually hurting stalemate’ coincides with a ‘way out’. This chapter deals with a non-state armed group that became ripe for identity change: the Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA).

Based on field research in Northern Ireland, this study of PIRA helps to paint a differentiated picture of ripeness theory. PIRA leaders acknowledged friends and enemies and therewith became ripe to question their identity. Thus, friends like the African National Congress in South Africa helped PIRA leaders to recognise a way out in the first place by emphasising that they learned how to win through politics rather than violence. Learning from enemies such as the UK and the Unionists, in turn, contributed to PIRA’s perception of a mutually hurting stalemate. Furthermore, both – the mutually hurting stalemate and the way out – had to be sold by the leaders to their follower base. The recognition of PIRA leaders as role models around the world thereby contributed to their capacity to convince the follower base.

This case study is revealing with regards to how ripeness is realised and negotiated when friends and enemies are acknowledged. It helps to grasp the complexities of ripeness by complementing ripeness theory with a view of how a non-state armed actor realised, acknowledged and recognised itself and others.

in Armed non-state actors and the politics of recognition
The case of the Islamic State
Tom Kaden and Christoph Günther

The purpose of this chapter is to analyse the ways in which the Islamic State generates and upholds its message through what are termed recognition orders, that is, complex sets of recognition by various actors for various traits and reasons, as well as complex sets of claims for recognition towards various actors as to what is to be recognised about the Islamic State in which way. This means that any act of recognition, non- or mis-recognition is part of a social relationship between those granting (or denying) and those the act is directed towards. Consequently, recognition and its others (non- and mis-recognition) are constituted reciprocally.

Considerations are based on an examination of twenty-three authoritative statements as well as a few texts and videos wherein the Islamic State’s ideologues emphasised particular sets of traits the group aspired to being recognised for as well as sets of actors from which the group sought recognition. These sets of traits and their variation correspond to the series of organisational stages the Islamic State underwent before and after its proclamation as the Caliphate in 2014. The chapter proposes two different sets of analytical questions, the answers to which reveal the complex recognition regime of which the Islamic State is part. The history of the Islamic State and its predecessor organisations is shown to be highly volatile in terms of the content and scope of the recognition it demands.

in Armed non-state actors and the politics of recognition
Vittorio Bufacchi

The Roman philosopher Marcus Tullius Cicero famously said that ‘to study philosophy is nothing but to prepare one’s self to die’. He influenced the sixteenth-century French philosopher Michel de Montaigne, who wrote an essay entitled ‘That to Study Philosophy is to Learn to Die’. This chapter explores our relationship with death through the philosophical lenses of these two thinkers, before giving the reader a short summary of all the chapters in the book.

in Everything must change
Vittorio Bufacchi

In normal times, we follow the advice of experts. In times of crisis, listening to public health experts, and acting accordingly, becomes an ethical imperative. After the outbreak of the most serious public health emergency in living memory, governments around the world are making decisions based on the advice of public health experts. The problem is that sometimes experts disagree, including scientists. Experts disagree on the best way to deal with the COVID-19 crisis. When this happens, politicians have the power to choose which experts to listen to. This raises important questions about knowledge and trust in science, experts, and politicians.

in Everything must change
Vittorio Bufacchi

In crises, we rely desperately on the truth, and there is no room for fake news or post-truth. Or at least, there shouldn’t be. But that has not been the case during the COVID-19 pandemic. This chapter will start by distinguishing between lies and post-truth, before highlighting the subversive nature of post-truth, which aims to delegitimize truth. Not even COVID-19 is immune from the toxic rhetoric of post-truth.

in Everything must change
Vittorio Bufacchi

There are two ways to think of a human tragedy: as an injustice, or as a misfortune. A misfortune is usually associated with inescapable external forces of nature, and as such the desolation it leaves in its wake is blameless. An injustice, on the other hand, is caused by fellow humans; it is intentional, controllable, and therefore not blameless. Poverty is an injustice not a misfortune. COVID-19 has exposed the true character of our society: its remorseless injustice. No one is responsible for the existence of COVID-19, but collectively we are responsible for the fact that pandemic preparedness plans were grossly insufficient, and the response to the crisis inadequate. All the inequalities, biases, prejudices, and wrongs of modern society have been irrevocably exposed by COVID-19.

in Everything must change
Abstract only
A year of COVID-19
Vittorio Bufacchi

This chapter suggests that philosophy has a great deal to contribute to the debate on COVID-19. It explores different definitions of what philosophy is, arguing in favour of a philosophy that is action-guiding. Philosophy is praxis. The chapter also considers two main rival models of ethics: one based on rights, the other on duties. I suggest that the rights-based model is, in part, responsible for the anti-mask movement. Finally, the chapter suggests that duties should come first and not be subordinated to rights. A duty-based approach to ethics explains why, during this pandemic, everyone has a moral duty to take the necessary precautions to avoid getting sick.

in Everything must change