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Ambiguities of Domination: Politics, Rhetoric, and Symbols in Contemporary Syria 1st Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
This book will facinate anyone interested in the modern Middle East or the nature of power.