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Being Mobile in Beirut



In this essay I examine two contexts of mobility in Beirut. First, I discuss navigations of security by Beirut's residents during the 2004–2006 period of political crisis. Second, I consider how talk about driving revealed interpretations of the state, national identity, and social class that engaged, in different ways, the notion of fowda (chaos). Through these contexts of mobility, I explore how power is constituted through spatial movement. I argue that mobility plays a critical role in processes of social differentiation in Beirut. Drawing on recent scholarship about security and spatial segregation, my research provides insight into class dimensions of Beirut's geography of difference and contributes to our understanding of the ways in which urban citizenship is produced through mobility.