SOAS University of London

London Middle East Institute

The Rule of Violence: Subjectivity, Memory and Government in Syria

The Rule of Violence
Salwa Ismail, SOAS

Date: 19 November 2018Time: 7:00 PM

Finishes: 19 November 2018Time: 9:00 PM

Venue: Paul Webley Wing (Senate House) Room: Alumni Lecture Theatre

Type of Event: Book Launch

In The Rule of Violence, Salwa Ismail examines the centrality of violence to the Asad regime’s mode of governing Syria over a forty-year period. Governing through violence in Syria takes spectacular form in and through the technologies of the massacre and the detention camp.  It also takes more routine forms in everyday practices and mundane interactions in sites like the school and the family.  Drawing on extensive fieldwork carried out in Syria between 2005 and 2011 and on interviews with Syrians inside and outside Syria, a key question Ismail asks is how the regime’s practices of violence – both spectacular and routine – were formative of Syrian political subjectivities, and what effect this violence had at the level of society and the individual. Governing through violence shaped Syrians’ affective life, inciting in them feelings of abjection, humiliation, dread and horror. This form of rule is revealed to be constraining of citizens’ political engagement, while also demanding of their action. The Rule of Violence illuminates our understanding of the Syrian present and provides insights into the conditions that entrenched polarization and division among Syrians and ultimately laid the ground for breaking their country apart.

Salwa Ismail will be speaking about her work at this book launch on 19 November. She will be joined by Michelle Obeid (Manchester University) and Gilbert Achcar (SOAS).

Salwa Ismail is Professor of Politics with reference to the Middle East at SOAS University of London. Her research focuses on everyday forms of government, urban governance, and governmental violence. She is the author of Rethinking Islamist Politics: Culture, the State and Islamism (I.B Tauris 2003 & 2006) and Political Life in Cairo’s New Quarters: Encountering the Everyday State (University of Minnesota Press 2006). Her most recent book is The Rule of Violence: Subjectivity, Memory and Government in Syria (Cambridge University Press 2018).

Discussant:  Michelle Obeid, Manchester University

Chair and Discussant: Gilbert Achcar, SOAS

Admission Free - All Welcome

Organiser: London Middle East Institute

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