Studying a rural village in northern Syria during a period of tremendous social and political change (1940s to 1970s), this book offers a unique perspective on how agrarian transformations in land distribution and its use deeply affected social and political relations among a rural community.
Embedding the personal with the local and the global, this work traces the seeds of social, political and economic struggles that are still important and unfolding in Syria forty years on: changes in social relations brought about by land policy and technological modernization, divisions and connections between urban and rural locations, shifts in education and immigration. Thematically, the study is divided into two parts: the first concerns the historical, socio-economic and political changes occurring in Syria from the beginning of the twentieth century, and the second concerns the life histories of particular actors and their perspectives on social changes. This book is the edited and updated version of Khalaf’s original work, including an ‘updating chapter’ which brings invaluable insight about the village and its people at the aftermath of ISIS and the destruction of the war in Syria.
Focusing on the village community of Hawi Al-Hawa, this intensely knowledgeable and personal account — a rare combination — brings village life in Syria strikingly close. The volume is an important contribution to the fields of anthropology, social sciences, Syrian and Middle East studies.
Table of Contents
Part 1: Introduction and context
1. The native anthropologist
2. The old order
3. The Euphrates Express: expansion of the entrepreneurial capitalist economy and the solidification of state order
4. The party/state and politics of mobilization
5. Hawi Al-Hawa village: an outline of its origin and development
Part 2: History in individual lives
6. Hajj Khalaf al-Ibrahim al-Meshrif
7. Al-Mukhtar Mahmoud
8. Tieba Najm al-Khalaf
9. Doctor Najm al-Ramadan
10. Omar al-Hasan
11. Ustaz Omar al-Abdallah
12. Ustaz Comrade Hussein al-Assaf
13. Nahar al-Ibrahim
Part 3: Analysis and update
14. Reconstruction of socio-historical processes at the micro level
15.Peace and war in Hawi al-Hawa
Sulayman Khalaf is a distinguished Syrian anthropologist. With a PhD from UCLA, he has published widely on Syria, Gulf Arab societies, and tribal communities. He taught at several Gulf universities and is an expert in intangible heritage. He retired in 2015 and now lives in Exeter.