Enchanted by the AK-47: contingency of body and the weapon among Hezbollah militants

Younes Saramifar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The constant presence of various forms and makes of firearm has turned it into an everyday item among some Lebanese. For Hezbollah militants, the AK-47 is an object of humour and fun despite its lethal potential. The weapon is saturated with representative qualities – both material and semiotic, so the author explores its materiality as a crucial nodal point from which to sketch the difficult terrain of subject–object relationship in the life of Lebanese Shi’i Hezbollah militants. He seeks to identify the material culture of a weapon that consolidates myths, reifies identities, stages propaganda and advertises threats. With this in view, the author follows the AK-47 to explore its ‘enchanting’ qualities and speak of the relationship it forms with a militant’s body. He locates the body of militants between three questions: what does the AK-47 signify, how does it arrive at that signification, and finally, how have its materiality and dynamic physicality made it the weapon of choice?.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-99
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Material Culture
Issue number1
Early online date4 Aug 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018


  • embodiment
  • Hezbollah
  • intensity
  • material semiosis
  • subjectivity
  • weapon


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