Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Authoritarian ApprehensionsIdeology, Judgment, and Mourning in Syria$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Lisa Wedeen

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780226650579

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226650746.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 27 June 2022

Humor in Dark Times

Humor in Dark Times

(p.49) 2 Humor in Dark Times
Authoritarian Apprehensions

Lisa Wedeen

University of Chicago Press

Chapter two demonstrates the reliability and incompleteness of ideological reproduction by detailing how dramatic comedies operated ideologically among Syria’s citizenry under al-Asad’s emerging market-oriented autocracy before the uprising. The chapter considers the work of Allayth Hajju, one of Syria’s best-known television directors, registering both the grim realities of the decade just past and the evident seductions of the neoliberal turn. At times uncannily prescient, at times poignantly bleak, Hajju’s comedy opens up alternatives to its own most conservative impulses, demonstrating the potency and unevenness of ideological saturation. Even his most biting comedy perpetuates an ideology of neoliberal autocracy, while also providing openings for an oppositional consciousness. Comedy expresses a struggle between desires for political reform and attachments to everyday conventions, as prefiguring solidarities in acts of disruption that are themselves ambiguous—and politically relevant for being so. Those solidarities congealed in the notably unambivalent humor of the uprising’s early days and have come to be refreshed in the open-ended, mini publics of the contemporary period. Monologues of young activists amid the devastation of 2016–2017 do more than suggest resilience; their capacities for mimicry, multiple registers of address, and embrace of uncertainty draw attention to future possibilities in past paths not taken.

Keywords:   ideology, comedy, autocracy, Bashar al-Asad, Allayth Hajju, neoliberal, saturation, solidarities, ambiguity

Chicago Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.