giovedì 2 febbraio 2012

Arab Nationalism and Urban Movements: French Syria (1920-1946)

How and to what extent did Arab nationalist elites monopolise the mobilisation of urban communities in mandatory Damascus?

Damascus: symbol of Arab nationalism? (Khoury)
The urban notables: merchants and Muslim religious leaders. (Gelvin)
Arab nationalism: emerged in a context of Turkification among the less established classes; a liberal opposition; al-Fatat party. The exile in Cairo. Kutla al-Watanyya (National Bloc): Sunni, urban based, landowners, merchants, functionaries. (Khoury)

How they monopolised the urban communities?
-         reactivating pre-existing networks ulema-merchants-petty bourgeoisie (Gelvin);
-         organizing public gatherings (Hurani);
-         discrediting local rivals;
-         secularism and political organization;
-         sponsoring economic nationalism (new local industries);
-         the mobilisation of  the youth.

To what extent?
-         (Hurani). Arabism: an insignificant role.
-         they never tried to politicize the masses;
-         inconsistence administration and finance;
-         pursuing equilibrium with French Damascus headquarters.

Choose one form of popular mobilisation in urban Syria between 1918 and 1946, and explain how and to what extent it can be considered as a manifestation of modernising trends in Syrian politics and society.  

1925-26: first revolts in the countryside against French.
The People’s party: nationalists and Druzes: using minorities for national struggle. (Provence)
The merchants’ protests, Damascus urban notables as mediators, formation of armed band: a guerrilla war.
A French aggressive attack: looting and thefts. Beirut (French Communists) and Hamah (Qawuqji) involved.

How can be considered a manifestation of modernised trends?
      -    a social state;
      -    the Islamic competition with foreign schools;
      -    workers strikes;
      -    new strong interurban links among the youth;
      -    emergence of the Islamic populism (Muslim Brotherhood).

To what extent?
      -   vanguardism: all coming from priviledged elites; (Thompson)
      -   social demands already activated during king Faysal interperiod (1918-20).
          The state: agency of development.

Soas, 1 febbraio 2012

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