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Visions of Beirut: The Urban Life of Media Infrastructure
by Hatim El-Hibri
Duke University Press, 2021
eISBN: 978-1-4780-1302-0 | Paper: 978-1-4780-1077-7 | Cloth: 978-1-4780-1044-9
Library of Congress Classification DS89.B4E43 2021

ABOUT THIS BOOK | AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY | REVIEWS | TOC | REQUEST ACCESSIBLE FILE
ABOUT THIS BOOK
In Visions of Beirut Hatim El-Hibri explores how the creation and circulation of images have shaped the urban spaces and cultural imaginaries of Beirut. Drawing on fieldwork and texts ranging from maps, urban plans, and aerial photographs to live television and drone-camera footage, El-Hibri traces how the technologies and media infrastructure that visualize the city are used to consolidate or destabilize regimes of power. Throughout the twentieth century, colonial, economic, and military mapping projects helped produce and govern Beirut's spaces. In the 1990s, the imagery of its post-civil war downtown reconstruction cast Beirut as a site of financial investment in ways that obscured its ongoing crises. During and following the 2006 Israel/Hizbullah war, Hizbullah's use of live television broadcasts of fighting and protests along with its construction of a war memorial museum at a former secret military bunker demonstrate the tension between visualizing space and the practices of concealment. Outlining how Beirut's urban space and public life intertwine with images and infrastructure, El-Hibri interrogates how media embody and exacerbate the region's political fault lines.

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