### Abstract:

Context.The Zeeman effect produced by a turbulent magnetic field or a random distribution of flux tubes is usually treated in the microturbulent or macroturbulent limits where the Zeeman propagation matrix or the Stokes parameters, respectively, are averaged over the probability distribution function of the magnetic field when computing polarized line profiles.
Aims.To overcome these simplifying assumptions we consider the Zeeman effect from a random magnetic field which has a finite correlation length that can be varied from zero to infinity and thus made comparable to the photon mean free-path.
Methods.The vector magnetic field is modeled by a Kubo-Anderson process, a piecewise constant Markov process characterized by a correlation length and a probability distribution function for the random values of the magnetic field. The micro and macro turbulent limits are recovered when the correlation goes to zero or infinity.
Results.An integral equation is constructed for the mean propagation operator and explicit expressions are obtained for the mean values and second-order moments of the Stokes parameters at the surface of a Milne-Eddington type atmosphere. The expression given by Landi Degl'Innocenti (1994) for the mean Stokes parameters is recovered. Mean values and rms fluctuations around the mean values are calculated numerically for a random magnetic field with isotropic Gaussian fluctuations. The effects of a finite correlation length are discussed in detail. Various extensions of the Milne-Eddington and magnetic field model are considered and the corresponding integral equations for the mean propagation operator are given.
Conclusions.The rms fluctuations of the Stokes parameters are shown to be very sensitive to the correlation length of the magnetic field. It is suggested to use them as a diagnostic tool to determine the scale of unresolved features in the solar atmosphere.