The resistance axis and regional order in the Middle East: nomos, space, and normative alternatives

Wastnidge, Edward and Mabon, Simon (2023). The resistance axis and regional order in the Middle East: nomos, space, and normative alternatives. British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies (Early Access).



A decade on from the Arab Uprisings, politics across the Middle East remains contested, both within and between states. As a mix of strategic alliance, security community, and ideational network, the Resistance Axis provides a compelling study into questions of regional order in the Middle East, given its long-standing counter-hegemonic outlook vis-à-vis the US and its regional allies. While comprised of a number of constituent parts, what holds this complex alliance network together is a broadly shared normative vision of regional order articulated in discourse, driven by ideational heritage and made real through spatial performance. We refer to this normative vision as nomos. In focusing on the Resistance Axis, this paper looks at the ways in which spatialized notions of resistance have been deployed by actors within the axis, namely the Islamic Republic of Iran and Hezbollah. With an empirical focus on Lebanon, we draw on fieldwork conducted in the country exploring the articulation of resistance narratives through different cultural and memorialized spaces that both actors have created. Our contention is that nomos has a utility as an alternative conceptual tool for understanding manifestations of order alongside more mainstream approaches.

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