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Local Elites

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Chapter Summary

This chapter presents a survey of the elite families' resources and their techniques for self-representation. It shows how these resources were brought into play in relation to the central government in specific circumstances. Case studies of two prominent families, the Khalidis of Jerusalem and the Husaynis of Gaza, are used to demonstrate two different patterns in the interaction between the Ottoman government and the Muslim oligarchy. Modifying the concept of the 'politics of notables', the chapter argues for a more nuanced framework that distinguishes between political and other elites and also takes non-Muslim actors into account. It suggests that the term 'notables' should be reserved for those Muslim and non-Muslim individuals who were important political representatives and mediators, and that the term 'elite' should be used with qualifiers indicating the specific field in which the individuals and households in question played a leading role.

Keywords: central government; elite families; Husaynis of Gaza; Khalidis of Jerusalem; Muslim; Muslim oligarchy; notables; Ottoman government



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