State-Society Relations in Ba'thist Iraq: Facing Dictatorship, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

State-Society Relations in Ba'thist Iraq

Facing Dictatorship, 1st Edition

By Achim Rohde


272 pages | 30 B/W Illus.

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Scholarship on Iraq under the Ba’th regime has traditionally focused on the rule of Saddam Hussein and his narrow inner circle. The centrality of the former president in Iraqi politics until spring 2003 and the tyranny of his regime were evident, and available sources concerning developments inside Iraqi society during that period were scarce.

This book explores whether traditional paradigms of totalitarian rule can be applied to Ba’thist Iraq, closely examining state-society relations and uncovering the nature of the regime and how Iraqis lived with it. The study creates a conceptual framework for understanding the inner dynamics of a dictatorship that encompasses a variety of disciplines - comparative historiography, political science, literary and art criticism, and gender studies. Drawing on a comparative reading of the historiography of other regimes commonly perceived as totalitarian dictatorships, particularly Nazi Germany, the author looks beyond the spheres of state politics, economy and jurisdiction to also include the so called ‘soft issues’ of social norms, cultural and ideological production. By interpreting recent Iraqi history along such lines, the author demonstrates how cross-regional comparative perspectives and an interdisciplinary approach can contribute to the study of Iraq.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Facing Dictatorship Part 1: The Rise and Fall of an “Instant Power” 1. Authoritarianism and Development: The 1970s 2. On the Way to Armageddon: Iraq in the 1980s 3. Fragmentation vs. Centralisation: Governing Iraq, 1991-2003 Part 2: Power and Society 4. Gender Politics in Ba‘thist Iraq 5. Arts and Politics. Conclusions

About the Author

Achim Rohde is a visiting scholar at the Center for Near and Middle East Studies at the University of Marburg, Germany, and a lecturer at the Asia Africa Institute of Hamburg University.

About the Series

SOAS/Routledge Studies on the Middle East

This series features the latest disciplinary approaches to Middle Eastern Studies. It covers the Social Sciences and the Humanities in both the pre-modern and modern periods of the region. While primarily interested in publishing single-authored studies, the series is also open to edited volumes on innovative topics, as well as textbooks and reference works.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies