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This paper explores development issues from the perspective of two villages in rural Lebanon. Educated male villagers see themselves as initiators of development and use the same language as NGO officials. Client-patron relationships and waste (the act of accessing material favours, such as development projects, from the powerful) are means for these men to achieve their political ends. Women and the less powerful men, who are not part of the waste network, tend to be disregarded in decision making, but nonetheless have strong views about the needs of the villages. The Islamic view emphasises the moral life.

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