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Libya: The Other Way or Are Really the Tribes Ruling the Agenda?

Study by: Erzsébet N. Rózsa and László Tüske.

Ever since the first news of the uprising in Libya have come to rule the international agenda, the tribal structure of the Libyan society has become a settled fact, and the question as to what role – if any – Libyan tribes may play in the evolving conflict and civil war has become everybody’s guess. Although it cannot be denied that in many aspects the Libyan society is among the most conservative ones in the Arab world, globally relevant developments like urbanization, industrialization, education etc. have left their impact on Libya as well. Yet, we1 claim that these developments have taken place in the “virtual sphere” and the modernization efforts à l’arabe, i. e. nationalism, Arabism, Islamism and Arab socialism, have failed so far, because they have been framed – by “globalizing” patrimonial rulers – in the same “virtual sphere”, therefore, they have left the “real sphere” of decision-making and social organization undisturbed.

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