This book provides a multi-disciplinary understanding of the processes of change in contemporary Syria as well as its historical, social, and cultural underpinnings. A number of distinguished anthropologists, historians, political scientists, and literateurs examine key issues such as the changing Syrian family, political factionalism, the sedentarization of nomads, bureaucratic corruption, rural-urban migration, the development of the Ba'th Party, Syria's political isolation, religious resurgence, and the continued importance of sects in Syrian life. This book strikes a balance between examining the consequences of Syria's geographical and strategic position in international politics and the implications of its internal and highly complex ethnic and class structure and culture. It argues that the religious culture of Syria is as important as the leadership of Asad and, more generally, that an understanding of Syrian politics must be matched by an understanding of Syrian society and culture.
Richard T. Antoun is Professor of Anthropology at the State University of New York at Binghamton. He is the author of Arab Village; Low-Key Politics, also published by SUNY Press; and Muslim Preacher in the Modern World. Donald Quataert is Associate Professor of History and Director of the Southwest Asia and North Africa Program at the State University of New York at Binghamton. He is the author of Social Disintegration and Popular Resistance in the Ottoman Empire.
"It focuses on the sociocultural bases of political culture in Syria. It offers a variety of insights into Syrian society that one cannot find in a single work on Syria. " — Fauzi M. Najjar, Center of Integrative Studies, Michigan State University