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Elites as the Least Common Denominator: The Ambivalent Place of French Schools in Lebanon in the Process of Decolonization

  • Esther Möller
Part of the Cambridge Imperial and Post-Colonial Studies Series book series (CIPCSS)

Abstract

When the first Lebanese government, still under the French mandate, was constituted in 1926, the director of the Jesuit school in Beirut stated: “the (…) government (…) was quite luckily constituted: four former students.”1 In the following decades, six of the seven first prime ministers of Lebanon were alumni of French schools, mainly the Jesuit schools.2 Did the French schools in Lebanon thus support Lebanese decolonization? Or was their only interest to maintain their influence in the country? How did they situate themselves at the crossroads of French authority and Lebanese society in the process of decolonization? This chapter will argue that French schools defended French domination in Lebanon as well as provided space for Lebanese expressions of nationalistic claims. Yet it was precisely the concept of the elite that enabled the French schools to maintain their position in times of political changes and to keep it even after the Lebanese independence.

Keywords

Common Denominator Muslim Community Catholic School French Government French School 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© Esther Möller 2011

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  • Esther Möller

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