Mohamed A. Ahmida Abdulnabi


This article examines the origins and evolution of Libyan cultural identity, shaped by diverse historical forces and ongoing internal divisions. Libya's location at the crossroads of the Mediterranean exposed it to successive colonisations by Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, and Arabs over centuries, creating a layered identity. Key aspects include the importance of Islam and Arab culture and regional, tribal, and ethnic diversity. Expression of Libyan identity can be seen in areas like cuisine, music, and traditional arts. However, forging a unified national identity continues to be hindered by tribal/regional affiliations, the legacy of oppression under Gaddafi and instability since the 2011 revolution. The article analyses how Libya's richly diverse heritage and cleavages pose challenges in establishing social cohesion and collective identity.


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Libya, Libyan identity, Arab culture, Berber culture, tribal identity, regional identity, colonialism, Ottoman Empire, Italian colonisation, Muammar Gaddafi, Libyan revolution, civil war, national identity, unity

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