Vol.6, No.1 | [Articles] The Myth of the “New Phoenicians”: Are Lebanese People Really Cosmopolitan?




Most previous studies have assumed the following hypothesis: the Lebanese diaspora continues to have strong attachments to the homeland based on close networks of personal connections, and almost all Lebanese have a strong interest in foreign countries through such networks. That is why the Lebanese have come to be commonly known as the “New Phoenicians.” Furthermore, the large amount of remittances from the Lebanese diaspora has been pointed out by almost all previous studies as clear evidence of such networks. The BCRI’s “Middle East Opinion Poll (Lebanon 2010)” and the “Middle East Opinion Poll (Lebanon 2012),” conducted in collaboration with our Japanese research team, however, presented a serious challenge to the common belief. Thus, we conclude that the widespread image of the Lebanese as “New Phoenicians” represents only a small segment of society; in contrast, the majority of middle- or low-income Lebanese do not receive any benefit from such global networks.

Keywords : Lebanon, Lebanese Diaspora, Migration, Economic Polarization, Opinion Poll