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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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Nationalism, Sentimentality, and Judgment

Nationalism, Sentimentality, and Judgment

Chapter:
(p.107) 4 Nationalism, Sentimentality, and Judgment
Source:
Authoritarian Apprehensions
Author(s):

Lisa Wedeen

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226650746.003.0005

Chapter four deepens the analysis of political judgment in conditions of uncertainty, shifting attention to the appeals of national sentimentality—the various efforts undertaken by the regime and multiple oppositions to activate people’s affective attachments ideologically. Putting theorists of melodrama, sentimentality, and affect into conversation with political philosophers of judgment, the chapter looks explicitly at the fantasies of repair nationalist rhetoric evokes, the communities of empathic recognition nationalist fantasies define, and the conundrums that arise for political reflection from taking refuge in the sentimental. Like chapter three, chapter four ends with a consideration of work by Syrian artists, some newcomers to the field such as Khalid `Abd al-Wahid and Ziad Kalthum, but also the prominent filmmaker Usama Muhammad (Ossama Mohammed) from an earlier generation. The efforts at alterity examined in this case speak to the libidinal and epistemic seductions of national belonging; the familiar temptations to cultivate empathy by representing suffering others; the creative possibilities for and difficulties of instantiating alternative visions; the varying intensities of affective investment in nationalism, human rights discourses, and revolutionary change; and the necessarily fragmented way in which ideological recruitment works.

Keywords:   political judgment, sentimentality, uncertainty, affective attachment, melodrama, nationalist rhetoric, Syrian art, alterity, human rights, revolution, recruitment

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