Dissertation Defense: Nadine Hamdan

Candidate Name: Nadine Hamdan

Major: Arabic and Islamic Studies

Advisor:  Jennifer Sclafani, Ph.D.

Title" Hizbullah’S Secretary General Sayyid Hasan Nasrallah and ‘What It Means to be Lebanese’.  
This paper presents an analysis of how Hizbullah’s Secretary General Nasrallah attempts to project an alternative to existing versions of a Lebanese national identity, based on an analysis of a selection of his speeches from 2005 until 2009. Methodologies from Interactional Sociolinguistics and Critical Discourse Analysis were combined, and the theoretical framework builds upon Bakhtin’s (1981) concept of dialogicality. The data was analyzed first in view of language choice and diglossic variation, and second, in view of personal deixis in order to gain insights into intersubjectivity and positioning in Nasrallah’s speeches. The findings were then put into context with insight gained from socio-political research on Hizbullah. As a result, this study argues, Nasrallah communicates a new reading of what it means to be Lebanese, challenging existing conceptualizations of Lebanese national identity. As a secularized form of its Resistance ideology, this promoted national identity is meant to appeal to the Lebanese across sectarian divisions. In place of religion, a shared understanding of moral values is suggested. This study demonstrated - as one of its main contributions to the field of discourse analysis – that context dependency and change over time apply to not only language form, but indexed social meanings as well. Calling for a greater degree of interdisciplinarity in the analysis of political phenomena, this study aims to show that Nasrallah’s linguistic choices help him to project a specific version of what it means to be Lebanese. Rather than being a presumably uniting force across the fragmented Lebanese society, this narrative, however, reinforces existing boundaries. The current study, then, hopes to demonstrate the value a discourse linguistic approach adds to the analysis of socio-political issues.  

Monday, December 18, 2017 at 9:00am to 11:00am

Edward B. Bunn, S.J. Intercultural Center, CCAS Boardroom
37th and O St., N.W., Washington

Event Type

Academic Events, Dissertation Defense


Georgetown College, Arabic and Islamic Studies, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences



Open to the public and the press?


Event Contact Name

Tiffany Hannon

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