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REDEFINING VERNACULAR: THE LEBANESE DIASPORA ECLECTICISM

Abstract
By : Stephanie Dadour

 
Unlike postwar reconstruction of urban districts, the architectural projects developed during the Lebanese war are a relatively unexplored subject, moreover if one is dealing within housing in the rural realm. Little attention has been paid to its contemporary propositions, especially to the ones directed by the Lebanese Diaspora during the war. By living abroad and by maintaining a link to their origins, members of the Diaspora put together all their strength and wealth to keep in touch with their land. For a large part, the idea of dwelling refers to their identity: by investing and building houses in their native village, they aim at preserving a place in their community.
In this article, the Lebanese Diaspora will be regarded as an ethnoscape, figure of the globalization introduced by Arjun Appadurai, namely a social and political matrix structured by and for the production of a cultural model and identity. Our hypothesis postulates that each village constitutes a micro ethnoscape (with, of course, exceptions and alternatives) and uses a particular architectural language. However, it is not a question of homogenizing all constructions but rather to find a common vocabulary referring to identity and appropriation in the various villages of origin of the Diaspora.
The houses built on the native soil by emigrantsí take part in the debates that oppose the local production to the global one. Thus, contrary to many researches that denounce globalization for the cultural standardization that it produces, this article intends to show the imaginative character of the members of the Diaspora, their resistance to the traditional models and the contemporary interbreeding which results from it. In this sense, the local and the global are intrinsically related one to the other.
Keywords: Lebanese Diaspora, Displacement, Redefining vernacular, Eclecticism, Hybridity.

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