Society, Culture, and Polity

Edited by Richard T. Antoun & Donald Quataert

Subjects: Middle East Studies
Series: SUNY series in Middle Eastern Studies
Paperback : 9780791407141, 188 pages, September 1991
Hardcover : 9780791407134, 188 pages, September 1991

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Table of contents

Donald Quataert

Note on Transliteration
Table: Syria: Area and Population
Map: Distribution of Population in Syria, 1970
Map: Syria: Administrative Divisions

Introduction. Ethnicity, Clientship, and Class: Their Changing Meaning
Richard T. Antoun

1. Syrian Political Culture: A Historical Perspective
Philip S. Khoury

2. Class and State in Ba'thist Syria
Raymond A. Hinnebusch

3. The Alawis of Syria: Religious Ideology and Organization
Fuad I. Khuri

4. Land Reform and Class Structure in Rural Syria
Sulayman N. Khalaf

5. The Emancipation of Women in Contemporary Syrian Literature
Salih J. Altoma

6. Asad: Between Institutions and Autocracy
Patrick Seale

7. The Nature of the Soviet-Syrian Link under Asad and under Gorbachev
Helena Cobban






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