Policy and Time

Policy and Time



The Lebanon case “Policy and Time” of the Rights for Time Project explores how historical legacies, accumulated practices, and recurrent policy cycles have informed the crafting of Lebanon’s politics of reception towards refugees, the international politics of humanitarian funding in the small polity as well as the multi-level governance of Lebanon’s cumulative and cyclical “crises”. The case analysis aims to understand how policy-making cycles interact with broader social and cultural settings, and how such policies are constructed along a continuum of perceptions and communal imaginaries that accumulated over time.

Lebanon is a unique and valuable case for analysis of how historical dynamics continually re-emerge, interact, and affect contemporary policies and decisions. Therefore, Policy and Time pays specific attention to policy-making cycles, conflict phases and developments in Lebanon in light of the codification of country politics and governance before and during its independence; various periods of internal upheaval, transformation, and conflict; and external events and impacts on the country from regional and global sources.

Objectives, Methods, and Impacts

The objectives of the project are as follows:

  • Retrace the history and temporalities of displacement in Lebanon as a case study with broader insights for humanitarian governance
  • Understand how the practical times of humanitarian, peacebuilding, disaster relief, and refugee policy interact with the long memories of displacement across generations and geographies
  • Draw on case studies as “tunnels”, time capsules or exploratory tools for understanding the nexus between time and policy
  • Link temporalities to existing protection challenges
  • Understand the alignment or lack thereof of policymaking cycles with Lebanon’s cumulative crises since 2019.
  • Test the concept of an interdisciplinary temporal lens and developing interdisciplinary peer-to-peer protocols (policy, poetics, and law)

The project’s methodology takes a multidisciplinary lens juxtaposing politics, law and poetics of refugee and conflict temporalities that allows for an interrogation of temporal commitments of politics, of law, of outsiders, and of calls to ‘action,’ as well as of a modus operandi of the “crisis governance” perspective. The project is also collecting data through focus groups, interviews, archival research and participant observation.

The anticipated impact of this case study is to inform multiple stakeholders as to why externally sponsored policy templates often clash with local realities, and explain how engaging with context-based temporalities can inform the adoption of policy solutions that are more attuned to realities.

Outputs and Target Groups
The project will produce the following outputs:

  • Episodic peer to peer protocols
  • Conceptual and empirical memos and reports on the nexus between temporalities and policy-making
  • Reflection notes on how to capture policy narratives across linear and non-linear time
  • Hiring of research fellows
  • Peer-reviewed articles
  • Conference presentations and webinars

The output of the project aims to target the general public, humanitarian organizations, academics, practitioners, policy makers, students, journalists, and media experts

Working Papers

Tangled Crises and Temporalities: The 1958 Crisis in Lebanon


This brief “Tangled Crises and Temporalities: The 1958 Crisis in Lebanon” by Stella Peisch focuses on this seminal year in Lebanese history to explore the interplay between crisis, temporality, and politics. As one of the project’s objectives is to use case studies as exploratory tools for understanding the nexus between time and policy, this brief puts forward both analysis and recommendations to inform multiple stakeholders as to how national, regional, and international policies and temporalities can combine into moments of crises. It therefore promotes engagement with context-based temporalities to encourage policy solutions that are more attuned to on-the-ground realities and experiences.

Temporalities in Diasporic Voices: Past, Present and Future in Narratives of Armenians in Lebanon


This Rights for Time “Policy and Time Strand, Lebanon” working paper examines how some temporal concepts are manifested in the narratives of Armenians in Lebanon – for many of them, decades after their ancestors arrived in Lebanon as refugees; or, for others, following their or their parents’ more recent move to Lebanon from other countries in the region that have experienced wars or other types of tension, mainly Iraq and Syria. More specifically, the paper argues that temporality manifests in these narratives mainly through references to past events, the memory of or experiences of actual journeys to ancestral lands, and a sense of uncertainty related to the present and future. By focusing on the Armenian case, the paper diverges from many recent studies on displacement in Lebanon dealing with the topic of temporality, which focus mostly on Syrian and Palestinian refugees. While these displacement cases provide valuable insights on time in refugee studies in Lebanon, this paper advocates for a more historicized focus, taking the case of a diasporic group whose refugee origins largely go back more than a century. The case of Armenians in Lebanon is also interesting because despite the long presence of many of them in the country, the community has also received newer refugee waves from Iraq and mainly Syria in more recent years, thus helping inform some comparative analysis. Such historicization of temporality analysis could provide valuable lessons for scholarly researchers, policymakers, humanitarian actors, and refugee/community organizations or leaders regarding more recent refugee waves. This is especially relevant in the case of Lebanon, given the multiple waves of displacement cases the country has experienced and taking into consideration the protracted nature of some of them. The paper relies on interviews with Armenians of different backgrounds residing in Lebanon conducted as part of the Armenian Diaspora Survey (ADS)’s qualitative component in 2019.


Rights4Time · Tamirace Fakhoury on reading Lebanon’s protests through time

Rights4Time · Time for Lebanon’s refugees? Tamirace Fakhoury Part II

Tamirace Fakhoury

The “Policy and Time” case on Lebanon is undertaken with the Centre for Lebanese Studies (CLS) in Beirut, Lebanon. The CLS is an independent academic institution that undertakes impartial and balanced research in the Social Sciences focused on education, refugee rights, social movements, and disability advocacy.

The case is led by Dr. Tamirace Fakhoury, Associate Professor of Political Science at Aalborg University in its Copenhagen Campus in Denmark, visiting Professor at Sciences Po in Paris, and Co-Investigator with the Rights4Time network.

Lebanon fellow

Stella Peisch

Stella Peisch is a PhD candidate in the International History and Politics department at the Geneva Graduate Institute (IHEID). Her research focuses on the intersections of violence, conflict, memory, history, and narratives in the Middle East.

Lebanon fellow

Maria Maalouf

Maria Maalouf is a Researcher at the Centre for Lebanese Studies with a master’s degree in strategic research from the Lebanese University. Her research focuses on the legal and practical framework of the UNHCR within the framework of the Lebanese sovereignty, migration and displacement, and social movement areas.

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