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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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Neoliberal Autocracy and Its Unmaking

Neoliberal Autocracy and Its Unmaking

(p.19) 1 Neoliberal Autocracy and Its Unmaking
Authoritarian Apprehensions

Lisa Wedeen

University of Chicago Press

Chapter one explores the uneven saturation of ideology and, in particular, the role of ambivalence in status quo conventionality by investigating the marked absence of large-scale protest in Syria’s two most important cities during the first, predominantly peaceful year of the uprising. Whereas accounts of dictatorship take the task to be describing the role of staunch loyalists or highlighting opportunism in the operations of regime maintenance, my privileging of ambivalence in the Syrian context reveals how an ideological structure of disavowal can work politically to stifle transformation. And it allows us to examine the ways in which citizens flatten out the complexities and horrors of civil war to render the present world-shattering reality bearable.

Keywords:   ideology, ambivalence, conventionality, Syria, protest, uprising, dictatorship, disavowal

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