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Authoritarian ApprehensionsIdeology, Judgment, and Mourning in Syria$
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Lisa Wedeen

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780226650579

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226650746.001.0001

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“I Know Very Well, yet Nevertheless …”

“I Know Very Well, yet Nevertheless …”

Ideology, Interpellation, and the Politics of Disavowal

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction “I Know Very Well, yet Nevertheless …”
Source:
Authoritarian Apprehensions
Author(s):

Lisa Wedeen

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226650746.003.0001

The introduction sets up the stakes and arguments of the book, which tacks between theory and ethnographic evidence—the latter derived in this case from fieldwork in Syria in 2010 and 2011, and subsequently in France, Germany, Lebanon, Turkey, and the US as one after another after many of the author's Syrian interlocutors were forced into emigration by worsening conditions at home. Chronologically, chapters one and two cover the first decade of rule under Bashar al-Asad and the unmaking of neoliberal autocracy after the uprising got underway in 2011. Chapters three and four focus on 2012–2013, when the uprising devolved into a devastatingly bloody civil war. The concerns with judgment these later chapters foreground speak to a moment when alternative paths forward for Syria, while glaringly obvious, were proving increasingly elusive of pursuit, when intensifying discursive contestation and the beginning of armed violence ushered in what observers from every angle recognize as a turning point. Chapter five bookends the study by returning to the first months of the uprising, a retroactive exploration of the workings of ideology in a time when cracks in the system were opening up, shedding light on regime efforts to shut things down.

Keywords:   theory, ethnography, Syria, neoliberal autocracy, civil war, uprising, regime

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