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GUILDS once played a decisive role in the life of Arab cities in various ways: economically, they controlled production and trade; socially, they provided a framework for the active population (which is to say, most of the population, with the exception of the ruling class, usually dominated by foreigners); and finally, in the absence of specialized urban agencies, guilds were one of the entities that permitted cities to function. Given the aforementioned factors, it is all the more striking ...more

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