• Lecture


Based on ethnographic and theoretical material, this lecture highlights bodily performances that challenge normative behavior in contemporary Lebanon. It focuses on the interaction of queer bodies in and around the Hotel Beirut, a former five-star hotel in the Lebanese capital.

The lecture makes a case for the production of a queer habitus, which finds itself expressed in and around a particular space, whose idiosyncratic history during the second half of the twentieth century has been pivotal for numerous queer individuals in forming their own gender and class identities. Merabet uses what he calls “queer ethnography” to introduce the ethnographic milieu with its complex microcosm based on a fertile social, emotional, and moral (but also aesthetic) environment of the Hotel Beirut. He also does so in order to show how, in Beirut, the social logic of a bodily performance, which is deemed as queer, emanates from this very environment and thus, as an instantly recognizable habitus, it manages to queer the various spaces it inhabits without being necessarily conscripted into the process of normative social transformations. This mapping of Lebanese desire points to a dynamic interpretation and a challenge to dominant interpellations akin to an “erotic self-making” in the face of an increased globalization in the contemporary Arab Middle East. In Lebanon’s capital, such interpretations and challenges are enacted spatially and culminate with a dramatic unfolding of desire on the streets and in certain edifices of the city, which the anthropologist, who is necessarily a part of it, needs to map and thus make sense of.

Weitere Informationen zu Sofian Merabet

Ort: IFK