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Everyday Arabism: The daily reproduction of nationalism and supranationalism in contemporary Syria and Jordan.

Phillips, Christopher (2010) Everyday Arabism: The daily reproduction of nationalism and supranationalism in contemporary Syria and Jordan. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science (United Kingdom).

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Abstract

This thesis considers how pan-Arab and state identity is reproduced in two ideologically different Arab regimes: Ba'athist Syria and Hashemite Jordan. There are three main contributions to the study of identity and the international relations of the Middle East. Firstly, the thesis re-defines Arabism as a supra-nationalism distinct from Nasser's Arab nationalism. This is reproduced alongside state identity by national governments and is now strengthened by the 'New Arabism' of transnational satellite television. Secondly, the lack of engagement with nationalist theory by scholars of the Middle East is addressed. Modernist theory is used to demonstrate how Syria and Jordan have utilised everyday symbols and mediations to build national communities. Thirdly Michael Billig's Banal Nationalism is established as a key mode of analysis for identity in the Arab world. It contributes to the growing literature on the everyday features of nationalism. The thesis considers the history of nation building in Syria and Jordan before discussing three case studies of how identities are reproduced. First, public images of the leader are shown to be as unnoticed by Syrian and Jordanians as national flags in Western democracies. Alongside other mediations such as public speeches, these cults sustain an identity discourse that deliberately includes Arabism, framed to serve state interests. Second, state-run television in Syria and Jordan also uses nationalism and Arabism to frame its content, building citizens who are both Syrian or Jordanian and Arab. The third case examines satellite television, which is beyond the control of the state. Rather than challenging the regimes' official identities, programming reinforces both Arabism and state identity. The final chapter expands on Billig's methods to address how citizens consume their nationalist discourse, using ethnographic interviews with 'everyday' Jordanians and Syrians. The thesis concludes by considering how international relations might be affected by the continued reproduction of Arabism.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Political Science, General, Middle Eastern Studies, Islamic Studies
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses
Departments > International Relations
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/2222

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