Changing Islamic law while preserving it: The case of the Lebanese Sunni community

The talk will center around Samer’s research, which challenges the dogmatic approach to law and religion, by exploring the new forms of contestation and juridical mobilization within the very religious sphere in Lebanon. By focusing on two mobilizations within the Lebanese Sunni community, his work exposes the modalities of change of the religious laws themselves, and the possibilities offered by the normative Muslim directory to the movements working for juridical and social change. This research is not, however, done with the intention of encouraging the maintenance of the monopoly of religious laws, but rather to highlight the artificiality of some antagonisms raised by feminist movements or religious communities. By replacing the study of juridical and religious texts with an empirical observation of practices and mobilizations, we aim to show that law -even Islamic law- changes significantly more than some activists and researchers tend to believe.

Speaker highlight
Samer Ghamroun is a PhD candidate in Political Science at the “Institut des Sciences Sociales du Politique” (ISP) at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Cachan, France. His research focuses on the politicization of Sharia courts and law in Lebanon, between women’s mobilization and the civil courts’ competition, within the field of legal sociology. More generally, Ghamroun works on judicial policies and judges’ mobilizations in Egypt and Tunisia. He is also a member of an international research program in legal anthropology (PROMETEE), studying law and property issues in various Islamic contexts. Ghamroun has taught and is teaching legal and political sociology in several universities in Paris and Beirut. He is a founding member of the Legal Agenda Center in Beirut (Al-Mufakkira al-Qanuninia) where he regularly publishes articles and contributes to research and discussions about Law and Society in Arab contexts


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