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The Aesthetics of Belonging

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Transformations in Hizbullah’s Political 
Posters (1985–2006)

image of Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication

This article traces the transformations in Hizbullah’s media discourse from its formative years in the mid- 1980s until the 2006 war with Israel. It focuses on a specific outlet of self-promotion and public mediation—that of political posters—to unpack their discursive, semiotic and aesthetic changes at decisive moments in the group’s history. The analysis relates the transformations to paradigmatic changes in Hizbullah’s politics; its growth as a Lebanese political party and military organization with transnational impetus; and the ensuing wider publics it attempts to reach, and, conversely, to the hostile imaginaries and exclusionary politics the group struggles with. The article observes how the Party of God increasingly attempts to negotiate its self-image outside a Shii-Islamic subjectivity and how it particularly strives to broaden its reach among the Lebanese public. It argues that the group’s media transformations have entailed, since the early 1990s, not only an accommodation of the party’s discourse of resistance within a nationalist framework, but also the inscription of its media image, rhetoric and aesthetics within a Lebanese social context.

Affiliations: 1: American University of Beirut, Lebanon, Email:


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