By Lisa Wedeen
In Syria, similar to President Hafiz al-Asad is far and wide. In newspapers, on tv, and through orchestrated spectacles Asad is praised because the "father," the "gallant knight," even the country's "premier pharmacist." but so much Syrians, together with those that create the professional rhetoric, don't believe its claims. Why may a regime spend scarce assets on a cult whose content material is patently spurious?
Wedeen concludes that Asad's cult acts as a disciplinary equipment, producing a politics of public dissimulation within which voters act as if they respected their chief. by way of inundating lifestyle with drained symbolism, the regime workouts a sophisticated, but powerful type of strength. The cult works to implement obedience, set off complicity, isolate Syrians from each other, and set instructions for public speech and behaviour. Wedeen's ethnographic learn demonstrates how Syrians realize the disciplinary facets of the cult and search to undermine them. Provocative and unique, Ambiguities of Domination is an important contribution to comparative politics, political concept, and cultural studies.
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Extra resources for Ambiguities of Domination: Politics, Rhetoric, and Symbols in Contemporary Syria
7 9 The poem also underscores the importance of Asad's filiation, his origins in the womb of his mother. Al- 'Attar explicitly makes reference both to the embodied, corporeal, mortality of the man and to his god-like qualities when she writes: It is enough that Hafiz al-Asad is the son of Na'isa al-Asad. And it is enough that Na'isa al-Asad is the mother of Hafiz al-Asad. For the glory of the origin is what was made by mighty hands. And your mighty hands made the glory of your mother who has departed.
Sacrificial blood may also indicate the anxiety aroused by the prospect of female warriors. The blood of martyrdom signifies purity and honor, and for martyred women, therefore, additional assurances of female chastity seem to be required. Blood also invokes blood relations. Muhaydli's spilled blood, like the blood oaths among members of the "popular" organizations, incorporates her into the national family and makes her the daughter of Asad, the nation's father. Furthermore, Muhaydli's example suggests the power of blood as a symbol of national commitment and enduring connection, operating to prove loyalty real.
M does refuse the sycophantic self the regime has designated for the Syrian soldiers, but he nevertheless is unable either to renounce or to change the corrupt mother-nation to whom he remains connected affectively and by origin. Contemporary Arab literature- of which M's story is, indeed, a minor instance-is replete with indications of predicaments such as M's, depicting the country or landscape as a defiled woman and portraying the Arab man's impotence as emblematic of his postcolonial trauma, his frustration, and sense of weakness.
Ambiguities of Domination: Politics, Rhetoric, and Symbols in Contemporary Syria by Lisa Wedeen