Ambiguities of Domination Politics, Rhetoric, and Symbols in Contemporary Syria

ISBN-10: 0226877884
ISBN-13: 9780226877884
Edition: Reprint 
Authors: Lisa Wedeen
List price: $26.00
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Description: 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,  More...

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Book details

List price: $26.00
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 6/15/1999
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 251
Size: 5.75" wide x 8.75" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.880
Language: English

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.

Acknowledgments
A Note on Transliteration
Believing in Spectacles
Killing Politics: Official Rhetoric and Permissible Speech
Acting "As If": The Story of M
Signs of Transgression
Complicating Compliance
Notes
Bibliography
Index

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