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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Feudalism in the Age of Neoliberalism: A Century of Urban and Rural Co-dependency in Lebanon


The urban and rural co-dependency in Lebanon has been drastically transformed and further heightened since the joining of both territories with the Declaration of Greater Lebanon on September 1st, 1920. The lack of any formal planning during the past century has driven socio-political and economic forces to shape or disfigure the built environment. Historians, geographers, and urban planners have addressed Lebanon’s urban-rural divide by highlighting unequal development. Even still, a comprehensive overview of key historical moments that investigates migrations and the economic system is needed to understand the current co-dependent and conflicted relationship between both territories. Accordingly, this paper explores the urban and rural dynamics starting from the early nineteenth century to modern- day Lebanon, by juxtaposing the flow of migrations between Mount Lebanon and Beirut with the country’s neoliberal economic policies. This analysis is derived from historical books, articles, and theses on the region and aims to highlight the integration of the rural feudalist- sectarian structure with the hyper-financialized urban neoliberal system.


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