By Christa Salamandra
"[F]illed with infrequent encounters with Syria's oldest, so much elite households. Critics of anthropology's style for exoticism and marginality will savour this research of upper-class Damascus, a global that's urbane and cosmopolitan, but in some ways as distant because the settings within which the easiest ethnography has often been done.... [Written] with a nuanced appreciation of the cultural varieties in query and the way Damascenes themselves imagine, discuss, and create them." -- Andrew ShryockIn modern city Syria, debates concerning the illustration, upkeep, and recovery of the outdated urban of Damascus have turn into a part of prestige festival and identification development one of the city's elite. In subject matter eating places and nightclubs that play on pictures of Syrian culture, in tv courses, nostalgic literature, and visible paintings, and within the rhetoric of historical upkeep teams, the belief of the outdated urban has develop into a commodity for the intake of holiday makers and, most vital, of latest and previous segments of the Syrian higher classification. during this energetic ethnographic research, Christa Salamandra argues that during deploying and debating such representations, Syrians dispute the prior and criticize the present.Indiana sequence in center East reports -- Mark Tessler, common editor
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Additional info for A New Old Damascus: Authenticity And Distinction In Urban Syria (Indiana Series in Middle East Studies)
Early in my fieldwork, it became apparent to me that Damascus and Damasceneness form a nexus linking local discussions of class and sect, tradition and modernity, culture and politics, identity and otherness. Individuals and groups vie for social prestige and moral authority using a language of sectarian-regional distinction. Discourses of Damasceneness operate as points of identification, and as idioms of social and political critique. ” In the ensuing chapters I focus on various realms in which Damascus, both as space and as metaphor, features both as a theme for commodity production and as a site of cultural, social, and political contestation.
Whereas many academic treatments of Middle Eastern women link them, explicitly or implicitly, primarily to the private world of the home, I explore the public aspects of their gender position, and posit that new public and semi-public arenas serve as novel venues for competitive consumption, for establishing and reconfirming a family’s position. In addition, by arguing that patriarchy sometimes divides rather than unifies, I diverge from ethnographic literature that emphasizes the great extent of mutual support among women.
They signify a rich heritage, but one relegated to the past through juxtaposition with the new city. What makes Damascus unique is the Syrian state’s ambivalence toward the Old City and its elite. Syria’s small tourist industry, which showcases a bounty of ancient ruins, provides little counterweight to the regime’s security concerns. Like the casbah of colonial Algiers, Old Damascus and its potential to shelter resistance movements is perceived by some to pose a threat to the current rulers. The Old City and the counterclaims to authority and legitimacy it represents prevent the regime from wholeheartedly embracing it as a jewel of national culture.
A New Old Damascus: Authenticity And Distinction In Urban Syria (Indiana Series in Middle East Studies) by Christa Salamandra