Ideological contest in Syria’s revolutionary moment: the concept of dignity

Harkin, Juliette (2017) Ideological contest in Syria’s revolutionary moment: the concept of dignity. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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In this thesis I make use of interpretive methods within comparative political theory for a consideration of the idea of dignity (karama) in Syria’s revolution, began in 2011. The state and its ruling ideology is, of course, deeply contested in revolutions. But less attention has been paid to how this happens and to the kinds of new ideas—or established beliefs recovered and recast—which can rapidly emerge from the ideational periphery. The concept of karama acts, along with other adjacent and related ‘ideas in the wild’, to resist. It signifies important ‘belief challenges’ to the dominant order.
I show the ways in which dignity is used and understood by recourse to the writing and the vernacular utterances of Syrian revolutionaries. I pursue two distinctive ideational exemplars from within the revolution: the progressive al-jumhuriya (The Republic) website; and, the armed fighters of the liwa al-tawhid (Unity Brigade). My research traces the ways in which divergent Syrian revolutionaries share important beliefs in common; ideas which cohere and are clarified, to an important extent, around the concept of karama—as it is used and acted upon in the revolution.
I compare the broadly western and Arab conceptual trajectories for this idea, showing points of commonality and illuminate the particular instances and context for a distinctive dignity in resistance. I explore a historicised idea of and emergence of a deeply political and radical Fanonian dignity in resistance to oppression and tyranny.
The centrality of dignity—as a core organising idea in Syrian ‘thought-practices’ of resistance—shows us how such ideas can take on a political bent and how powerful they are when harnessed and acted on in particular contexts. My analysis of revolutionary thinkers and fighters therefore sheds more light on the actions of people often neglected in state-centric and structuralist analyses.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies
Depositing User: Users 4971 not found.
Date Deposited: 24 May 2017 12:57
Last Modified: 24 May 2017 12:57

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