Changes in the status of the palestinian elite families: The Al-Jabari and the Al-Masri Organizations

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This article presents a new approach for analyzing the characteristics and historical transformations of an institution central to Palestinian society and the Fertile Crescent at large - the Elite Family. The approach perceives elite families in the twentieth century as complex organizations with three fundamental traits: structure, distinct goals and strategy. Based on the cases of the al-Jabari family from Hebron and the al-Masri family from Nablus, the article comparatively examines the ways each family dealt with historical shifts from the early twentieth century through the late 1970s and how this affected its sociopolitical status. My principal argument is that the three attributes of goals, structure and strategy - which were influenced by local conditions too - shaped the different ways in which the two families managed changes and challenges, and directly determined the degree to which each endured in the sociopolitical arena. This approach challenges the prevalent view of the West Bank's elite families as "traditional" players that were doomed to fall from grace due to the major upheaval that the Palestinians experienced during the second half of the twentieth century.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-32
Number of pages32
JournalWelt des Islams
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2018


  • Elite families
  • Families
  • Israel
  • Network theory
  • Notables
  • Palestine
  • Palestinian elite
  • Palestinians
  • Tribalism
  • West bank

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Religious studies
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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