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Ambiguities of Domination-Politics, Rhetoric, and Symbols in Contemporary Syria [Anglais] [Broché]

Lisa Wedeen

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Description de l'ouvrage

28 mai 1999
In Syria, the image of President Hafiz al-Asad is everywhere. In newspapers, on television, and during orchestrated spectacles Asad is praised as the "father," the "gallant knight," even the country's "premier pharmacist." Yet most Syrians, including those who create the official rhetoric, do not believe its claims. Why would a regime spend scarce resources on a cult whose content is patently spurious?

Wedeen concludes that Asad's cult acts as a disciplinary device, generating a politics of public dissimulation in which citizens act as if they revered their leader. By inundating daily life with tired symbolism, the regime exercises a subtle, yet effective form of power. The cult works to enforce obedience, induce complicity, isolate Syrians from one another, and set guidelines for public speech and behavior. Wedeen's ethnographic research demonstrates how Syrians recognize the disciplinary aspects of the cult and seek to undermine them. Provocative and original, Ambiguities of Domination is a significant contribution to comparative politics, political theory, and cultural studies.

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Biographie de l'auteur

Lisa Wedeen is professor in and chair of the Department of Political Science at the University of Chicago and the author of Peripheral Visions: Publics, Power, and Performance in Yemen.

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Dans ce livre (En savoir plus)
Première phrase
In official Syrian political discourse, President Hafiz al-Asad is regularly depicted as omnipresent and omniscient. Lire la première page
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Couverture | Copyright | Table des matières | Extrait | Index | Quatrième de couverture
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.8 étoiles sur 5  4 commentaires
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Analysis of Syria's pseudo-cult of personality 23 mars 2004
Par Tron Honto - Publié sur
When I first traveled to Syria in the late 90's, I found the eerie, creepy phenomenon of what Wedeen terms Syria's state cult to be the most inscrutable, absurd and mind-boggling feature of the entire land-scape. After Asad's death, the succession of his son, Bashar, saw the ubiquity of his father's visage decline noticeably but still it did by no means disappear.
Wedeen's work does forcefully and with keen insight what I once thought was impossible. Though known to be patently absurd by all Syrians, inside and outside the elite, Wedeen argues cogently that this cult in its own way reinforces power for the state by demarcating the boundaries of political practice 'as if'...i.e., politics in Syria are to be practiced AS IF the cult expresses reality. Her analysis also broadens to include investigations of the vast amount of state resources squandered on the cult and the circumscribed efforts to resist and protest the gov't. Highly recommended reading for anyone studying the modern Middle East.
5 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A useful and engaging work on contemporary Syria. 17 avril 2006
Par tarihci202 - Publié sur
This engaging and often witty work asks the basic question, "how do rituals and symbols that are widely understood to be false or absurd help to support a regime?" Her answers help to complicate our understanding of the relationship between state symbolism and legitimacy in authoritarian states.

Happily, the value of this work is not limited to political theory. Indeed, for most readers, these theoretical issues will be secondary to the insights and observations Wedeen offers regarding the workings of the brutal and repressive Syrian regime. Her authorial tone is wry and, despite its theoretical sophistication, this is an easy work to read. In particular, her reliance on everyday communications and popular media and the breadth of examples she provides bring Syrian society to life in a way that few academic works have.
15 internautes sur 22 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Brilliant 27 octobre 1999
Par Un client - Publié sur
One of the best studies I have ever read on the nature of power and domination. Wedeen asks the simple question of how Asad is able to keep power in Syria when all of the people know that all of the state propaganda is false. Her elegant answer gets right to the heart of what makes a ruler powerful. Asad rules not through totalitarianism, but through authoritarianism. What's the difference? A ruler who controls everything that the people think (like in North Korea) is not really dominating them, they just don't know any better. But a ruler like Asad rules because the people fear him and become unable to dissent as a result of Foucault-ian discursive practices.
This book will facinate anyone interested in the modern Middle East or the nature of power.
6 internautes sur 13 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Ground-breaking! 16 mai 1999
Par Un client - Publié sur
A ground-breaking exploration of the subtle ways power operates to structure everyday life. Rich in ethnographic detail and eloquently written. Definitely worth _much_ more than $17. A worthy read, not just for people interested in contemporary Middle Eastern politics, but for those interested in issues of power, discipline and resistance. Ms. Wedeen is a rising star in the field of Political Science. Bravo!!
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