Power, Tradition and Challenge: The Resilience of the Elite Shi‘ite Families of Lebanon

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Abstract

This article deals with the main processes and challenges that the Shi‘ite elite families experienced, beginning in the late 1950s and continuing through the first decade of the twenty-first century. It argues that although the turbulent times caused the socio-political standing of these families to weaken, the change in their status was more moderate than usually acknowledged. Prominent Shi‘ite families remained important factors in the political sphere. In fact, most of them were able to adapt successfully to the changes, particularly by cultivating beneficial relationships with Amal and Hizbullah. This demonstrates that these families, as well as the socio-political phenomena they represented, remained relevant.