Othered, Silenced and Scapegoated: Understanding the Situated Security of Marginalised Populations in Lebanon


Jessica McClearn and Rikke Bjerg Jensen, Royal Holloway, University of London; Reem Talhouk, Northumbria University


In this paper we explore the digital security experiences of marginalised populations in Lebanon such as LGBTQI+ identifying people, refugees and women. We situate our work in the post-conflict Lebanese context, which is shaped by sectarian divides, failing governance and economic collapse. We do so through an ethnographically informed study conducted in Beirut, Lebanon, in July 2022 and through interviews with 13 people with Lebanese digital and human rights expertise. Our research highlights how LGBTQI+ identifying people and refugees are scapegoated for the failings of the Lebanese government, while women who speak out against such failings are silenced. We show how government-supported incitements of violence aimed at transferring blame from the political leadership to these groups lead to amplified digital security risks for already at-risk populations. Positioning our work in broader sociological understandings of security, we discuss how the Lebanese context impacts identity and ontological security. We conclude by proposing to design for and with positive security in post-conflict settings.

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@inproceedings {291311,
author = {Jessica McClearn and Rikke Bjerg Jensen and Reem Talhouk},
title = {Othered, Silenced and Scapegoated: Understanding the Situated Security of Marginalised Populations in Lebanon},
booktitle = {32nd USENIX Security Symposium (USENIX Security 23)},
year = {2023},
isbn = {978-1-939133-37-3},
address = {Anaheim, CA},
pages = {4625--4642},
url = {https://www.usenix.org/conference/usenixsecurity23/presentation/mcclearn},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = aug

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