Urban transformation and social change in a Libyan city: an anthropological study of Tripoli
Elbendak, Omar Emhamed (2008) Urban transformation and social change in a Libyan city: an anthropological study of Tripoli. PhD thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.
This PhD thesis is a study of urban transformation in a Libyan city. The case study focuses on the city of Tripoli, the capital of Libya. It is at the same time an old city as well as a modern city, and can be identified as a major world city. Libya has experienced one of the highest rates of urbanisation in the last few decades. Libya’s rate of urbanisation is 88%, putting it higher than that of all other African cities and, indeed, some European cities as well. The research explores the urban structure of the city including the cultural and social system. In addition, the research explores crucial urban theories from Iben Khaldun to Louis Wirth and examines modern patterns as a method of feedback of the study of urbanisation. This study shows special characteristics of urban phenomena and adds, in general, to the literature in the field. During the past number of decades, the pattern of life in Tripoli has been transformed, with particular focus on local culture which has felt the impact of global culture. These changes have brought about new aspects and patterns to life in the city. The study also argues that transformation has occurred in some aspects of life such as food and music. Urban transformation in this study is examined within the context of globalisation. That is, in the context of global urban culture with special emphasis on its impact on local culture. Here, the city is seen as a global site with many advantages. The study is therefore an example of appropriation and implementation of a sort of "global knowledge" in a local, Libyan context. It is concerned with the urban transformation and social change of Tripoli as it undergoes a transition from traditional and modern to a global state. In focusing upon the urbanisation and special structure of Tripoli, the first five chapters of the study review the historical social transformation of Tripoli through urban life, global culture, urbanisation, urban family and urban women. The research addresses the Libyan social structure and includes a history of Tripoli and observations on Libyan structure between traditional and global phenomena in relation to urbanisation. In chapter six, an attempt is made to discuss the characteristics of Tripoli. Large numbers of immigrants have swelled Tripoli’s population resulting in unique aspects of change. Tripoli shares many similarities with other cities of the world, such as a modern lifestyle and a growing prevalence of foreign food, music and dress.
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