Solidarity and fragmentation in Libya’s associational life

Sherine El Taraboulsi-McCarthy


This article is a sociohistorical analysis of two regions of Libya, Cyrenaica and Tripolitania, following independence in 1951. Building on Pierson (2004), it focuses on path dependent trends in solidarity and the fragmentation of Libya’s associative space. It argues that associational life has played a twofold role in Libya’s political and social history. First, it actively contributed to the strengthening of resistance against colonialism and tyranny, the development of state institutions and the domestication of state power. Second, it contributed to processes of bonding within groups that compromised the development of a Libyan state, which was a factor in the onset of the Libyan civil war (2014–2020). This dual nature of the associative space is an important point of inquiry for Libyan historiography and something that is important for policymakers presiding over the country’s state, nation building and economic development to understand.


Peace process; Lybia;revolution;associational life

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