Tribes, Revolution, and Political Culture in the Cyrenaica Region of Libya

  • Thomas Hüsken
Part of the Governance and Limited Statehood Series book series (GLS)


This chapter explores basic patterns of the recent political culture1 in the Cyrenaica region of Libya, focusing specifically on the revolutionary events that began in February 2011. The political culture in Cyrenaica is shaped by the heterarchy of tribal, state-like, Islamic, youth, civil, and militia-like forms of political organization. This comprises varying political practices and rationales as well as different conceptions of power, rule, and also legitimacy. The concept of ‘heterarchy’ or a ‘heterarchization’ of political orders2 describes the plurality of competing power foci in Libya and the mutable intertwining of state and non-state actors.3 The concept of heterarchy tries to overcome the prevailing ‘state-centrism’ (Trotha, 2009) in the debate on politics in Africa. It is thus in line with the attempt by this volume to demonstrate that modes of governance that occur beyond centers and beside states do not necessarily stand for decline and disintegration.4


Extended Family Political Culture Political Organization Tribal Group Legal Pluralism 
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  • Thomas Hüsken

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