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By R. Hrair Dekmejian

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The problem is especially acute in many non-Western states, where biographical directories and related data on elites do not abound and available information is often replete with errors. The quest for data therefore, must be pursued through other means, notably the press, both domestic and Western, and must often go back several decades. Because the various sources frequently diverge, it is necessary to collate information on each minister from multiple sources in order to achieve a high degree of reliability and completeness.

Political identification with (1) party; (2) group; (3) class; (4) ideology. The foregoing approach enables one to acquire two types of research dividends. It accords the scholar an in-depth understanding of the ruling elements in each country and it renders possible the identification of certain differences and similarities between the three elite groups. This, in turn, can provide clues to explain more basic questions about contrasting political cultures, rates and levels of modernization, direction of social change, and the likelihood of stability or instability.

Za'imism and Dynasticism It is difficult to formulate an operational definition of the type of Lebanese leadership associated with za'imism. ) persist in the literature. 3 Nor is the Lebanese perception a clear guide to their identity. What everyone agrees upon is that the zu'ama' constitute a category of Lebanese leaders who are central to the political process. One obstacle to viable classification is the great dissimilarity among the zu'ama'. Some have a rural base while others are urban dwellers.

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