Political participation in its “extreme” Middle Eastern context | PAVE
Interventions by Iyad Kallas and Wassim Naboulsi
Published at 6 May 2021
Second session of the "Political participation in its “extreme” Middle Eastern context" webinar, organised by the FMSH and Ifpo for the PAVE project. Interventions by Iyad Kallas and Wassim Naboulsi.
The presentation will focus on the development of individual and collective identities in Syria, in correlation with the paradigm shift in the limits of freedom of speech, information disorder and radicalization, before, during and after the 2011’s uprising.
Trainer and Consultant, specialized in media and “communication for development”. CoFounder of several alternative media platforms and communication-related projects, including “SouriaLi”, a grassroots radio station, which was created post 2011 to contribute to the documentation and development of the sociocultural and sociopolitical identities in Syria.
The lecture will highlight the role of rural-urban relations in determining the outbreak and the later course of Syria’s 2011 uprising. In this context, it will focus on the militarisation of the uprising and the role of the different actors in this outcome. It will briefly review the history of these relations since the 1960s until the eve of the uprising. Against the main current within the existing literature on the Syrian conflict, the lecture will show that the conflict should not be perceived as a rural uprising against urban privileges. Such understanding of the conflict is underpinned by several problematic assumptions that will be discussed in the lecture.
Alternatively, I will highlight the fact that the 2000s Syria witnessed a reconfiguration of rural-urban relations that served the interests and aspirations of a new generation of regime elites. Then I will argue that the conflict was between both rural and urban groups who supported the above-mentioned reconfiguration and rural and urban groups who opposed it.
Finally, the lecture will conclude the need for a systemic understanding of the rural, urban and rurban in Syria. It will also conclude that future studies should rely less on the geography of the conflict and more on understanding the demands and aspirations of the different social groups during the early days of the uprising.
Lebanese lawyer ad PhD researcher at the university of Sussex, UK.
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