This book is a study of how feudalism works in a contemporary Arab society, examining the operations of the hierarchy of Lebanese warlords. The book shows how the warlords have adapted to changing economic conditions in Lebanon. Whereas power was formerly based on landed estates, it now lies in services and capital. The book examines the nature of the competition between these men, how elections are influenced by patronage and violence.
Michael Gilsenan is Professor of Anthropology and Near Eastern Languages and Literatures at New York University and is Emeritus Fellow at Magdalen College, Oxford.
Part 1 The rule of the lords from the snow to the sea: figures in a landscape; contexts and contests. Part 2 State and local narratives: narratives, powers, persons; fathomless ocean; precarious archaism; underdeveloped periphery. Part 3 The weight of the ancestors: famine and memory; fellahin and famine. Part 4 Marvellous stories, dirty deeds: gallous story or dirty deed; marching in the wrong direction; joking, play and pressure; the perils of display; a killing in the street. Part 5 Imperatives of work: the challenge of work and wages; horsemen on tractors. Coda: The roses of life