Who does consociationalism work for? Evidence from the Arab Barometer's survey of Lebanon.
Access changed 7/12/18.
This study examines the extent to which confessional identities in Lebanon are responsible for shaping individual views toward their government. Specifically, I investigate disparities between religious groups in their perceptions of democracy and democratic principles as applied in Lebanon. Using nationally representative data from the Arab Barometer’s survey of Lebanon, I find that when compared to Maronite Catholics, Druze, and Sunni Muslims, Shia Muslims consistently give higher evaluations of democracy and human rights in Lebanon. When compared to members of other religious groups, Shia Muslims are also more trusting of political institutions and perceive Lebanon to be freer. I find little evidence that the application of consociational theory equally and proportionally represents the political needs of the religious groups intended to be served. Rather, my findings support consociationalism’s critics who argue that consociationalism essentializes group-identity to political disputes.