Knowledge and Ignorance

in The Culture of Sectarianism

Published by University of California Press

Published in print July 2000 | ISBN: 9780520218451
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520922792 | DOI:
Knowledge and Ignorance

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This chapter aims to sketch the outlines of social order in this multireligious society and to explore the nature of violence that regulated this order. It also examines European perceptions of Mount Lebanon as a romantic refuge in which a hierarchy of notables dominated a social order as the periphery of the Ottoman Empire. The chapter explains that contrary to Lamartine's depiction of a spiritual haven and to a Lebanese historiography which has constructed a narrative of national tolerance corrupted by sectarianism, violence existed in pre-1860 Ottoman Lebanese society that consisted primarily of elite violence deployed to reaffirm a rigid, status-based social order defined as the rule of knowledge over ignorance.

Keywords: social order; multireligious society; violence; European perceptions; Mount Lebanon; Ottoman Empire; sectarianism

Chapter.  9120 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Asian History

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