By Christa Salamandra
"[F]illed with infrequent encounters with Syria's oldest, such a lot elite households. Critics of anthropology's flavor for exoticism and marginality will take pleasure in this learn of upper-class Damascus, a global that's urbane and cosmopolitan, but in some ways as distant because the settings within which the simplest ethnography has usually been done.... [Written] with a nuanced appreciation of the cultural types 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 -- Andrew ShryockIn modern city Syria, debates concerning the illustration, upkeep, and recovery of the outdated urban of Damascus have turn into a part of prestige pageant and id development one of the city's elite. In subject eating places and nightclubs that play on photos of Syrian culture, in tv courses, nostalgic literature, and visible artwork, and within the rhetoric of historical maintenance teams, the belief of the outdated urban has develop into a commodity for the intake of visitors and, most crucial, of recent and outdated segments of the Syrian higher category. during this full of life ethnographic learn, 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 resources for A New Old Damascus: Authenticity And Distinction In Urban Syria (Indiana Series in Middle East Studies)
Ironically, this alleged privileging of economic capital above all else is in part a result of the Ba>th Party’s socialist policies. The authority of the old elite families was linked to a combination of political and economic dominance, access to the West in the form of travel, education, and consumer goods, and an urbane, cultivated lifestyle of sophisticated discourse, refined manners, and attention to matters of taste. It was sometimes connected to religious learning. A shift has occurred in the understanding of what is considered elite.
For Damascus, it is necessary to shift the focus further from a state that features as but one of many forces shaping identity and culture construction. The binary tensions Herzfeld points to are multifarious in Damascus, and routinely give way to what Andrew Shryock, in his study of contests over national identity in Jordan, calls “contentious multivocality” (1997: 313). From the Damascus case emerges an array of individuals and groups challenging one another over various representations of past and present, of culture and history, that range from bodily adornment and family honor to theme restaurants and television dramas.
More than a quarter century has passed since the publication of Abu-Lughod’s work on Cairo, and it is now important to ask to what extent classes have indeed replaced other forms of collectivity in the urban Middle East. ). Subsequently, the sectarian, ethnic, and regional homogenization Abu-Lughod predicted for Cairo has taken place only within the wealthiest segment. For those groups with social rank below the very top, such affiliations continue to play a significant role in residential patterns.