Cloth $67.00 ISBN: 9780226877877 Published June 1999
Paper $22.50 ISBN: 9780226877884 Published June 1999
E-book $7.00 to $22.50 About E-books ISBN: 9780226125701 Published July 2012

Ambiguities of Domination

Politics, Rhetoric, and Symbols in Contemporary Syria

Lisa Wedeen

Ambiguities of Domination
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Lisa Wedeen

251 pages | 9 halftones, 19 line drawings | 5-1/2 x 8-1/2 | © 1999
Cloth $67.00 ISBN: 9780226877877 Published June 1999
Paper $22.50 ISBN: 9780226877884 Published June 1999
E-book $7.00 to $22.50 About E-books ISBN: 9780226125701 Published July 2012
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.

Contents
Acknowledgments
A Note on Transliteration
1. Believing in Spectacles
2. Killing Politics: Official Rhetoric and Permissible Speech
3. Acting "As If": The Story of M
4. Signs of Transgression
5. Complicating Compliance
Notes
Bibliography
Index
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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