PUBLI : Lama Kabbanji, Hala Awada, Mariam Hasbani, Elsa El Hachem & Paul Tabar, “Studying abroad: a necessary path towards a successful academic career in social sciences in Lebanon?”, Revue Internationale de Sociologie, Oct. 2019

Abstract

Scholars have only recently started to take an interest in the return of highly qualified migrants to their country of origin, especially when it comes to Arab countries. This research, conducted between 2014 and 2016, provides evidence on the Lebanese case, a country where most social scientists have been trained abroad. This article uses a multi-level approach and compares careers paths of social scientists trained in Lebanon and abroad, working in Lebanese public and private universities. If a foreign diploma appears as a significant factor of career differentiation, the analysis undertaken in this article nuances this finding. It reveals to what extent the characteristics of the academic field in origin countries such as Lebanon shape the career paths of academics. Public and, to a lesser extent private universities have become ideological state apparels which are used by the ruling elites to ensure their reproduction, through the revaluation of social capital. However, this reproduction is not made without social actors and their involvement. Lebanese academics develop strategies to accumulate the relevant symbolic capital in order to be recruited or promoted. The activation of the relevant political and sectarian networks is, therefore, one of the key strategies which social scientists mobilise as a first or last resort to acquire university positions.