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Title: Ideological contest in Syria's revolutionary moment : the concept of dignity
Author: Harkin, Juliette
ISNI:       0000 0004 6351 093X
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2017
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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.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available