Metamorphosis of the Nation (al-Umma) The Rise of Arabism and Minorities in Syria and Lebanon, 1850-1940

by Kais M. Firro

Metamorphosis of the Nation (al-Umma) The Rise of Arabism and Minorities in Syria and Lebanon, 1850-1940 Synopsis

Studies on nationalism in the Arab World have dealt with the socio-economic conditions through which the nationalist phenomena emerged. Notwithstanding the importance of these conditions, the focus here is on the cultural aspects as manifested in the language of the discourse and ideology. Proto-nationalist and nationalist phenomena could not exist outside their discourse and ideology through which they were modelled, shaped and identified as a conceptual framework through association, behavioural patterns, and loyalty to collective identities. Theorists of nationalism tend to deal with the terms nation, nationalism as givens without specifying the exact time and place in which the terms had been coined to signify their concepts. This book focuses on nationalist and ethnic discourse through textual analysis from classical and modern Arabic. Tracing the development in the usage of terms related to collective identities, the present study shows that Arabic print language, education and press rooted the usage of al-umma to signify several connotations in accordance to its user, creating perplexity for defining al-umma. Chapters trace the usage of umma, qawm, sha'b and 'arab in the classical texts; investigate the development of the nationalist discourse since the end of the 19the century until 1940; and deal with four religious communities in Syria and Lebanon, and the role of their intellectuals in formulating ideas concerning their self-image in nationalist terms. Throughout, the study keeps track of the changes in Arabist discourse of the term umma . A Conclusion reevaluates the ethnic and nationalist discourse at the present time, showing that the elitist characteristics of al-umma, the nation , has had a limited influence on subduing parochial identities such as tribes and religious communities, as well as the Islamic cosmopolitan identity. This book is essential reading for all those engaged in the study and research of collective identity, Islam, nationalism and ethnicity.

Metamorphosis of the Nation (al-Umma) The Rise of Arabism and Minorities in Syria and Lebanon, 1850-1940 Press Reviews

Firro makes a vital new contribution to the study of nationalism in the Arab world by going back to the works of key political ideologues and subjecting the very language of nationalism to rigorous scrutiny. Based on extensive archival research, and an exhaustive reading of Arab political philosophy, Firro traces the growth of the Arab national idea from the micro level of minority communities, to the nation-state level, to the transnational pan-Arab vision. A masterful study that will be essential reading for all scholars of the cultural and political history of the Middle East. --Eugene L. Rogan, Director, The Middle East Centre, St Antony's College, Oxford Firro makes a vital new contribution to the study of nationalism in the Arab world by going back to the works of key political ideologues and subjecting the very language of nationalism to rigorous scrutiny. Based on extensive archival research, and an exhaustive reading of Arab political philosophy, Firro traces the growth of the Arab national idea from the micro level of minority communities, to the nation-state level, to the transnational pan-Arab vision. A masterful study that will be essential reading for all scholars of the cultural and political history of the Middle East. Eugene L. Rogan, Director, The Middle East Centre, St Antony s College, Oxford Firro investigates the emergence and development of Arab nationalism with a focus on its cultural aspects as manifested in language and ideology. He begins by tracing the usage of key terms such as umma (community), qawn (group), sha b (group of people), and arab (Arabs) in classical texts from the rise of Islam until the era of Abd al-Rahman ibn Khaldun (1332 1406). He then explores the emergence of new terms based on the classical texts with new meanings in the era of Arabism from the end of the 19the century until 1940. Finally, he presents case studies on four religious communities in Syria and Lebanon: the Maronite-Christians, Shi is, Alawis, and Druze. Reference & Research Book News Firro investigates the emergence and development of Arab nationalism with a focus on its cultural aspects as manifested in language and ideology. He begins by tracing the usage of key terms such as umma (community), qawn (group), sha'b (group of people), and 'arab (Arabs) in classical texts from the rise of Islam until the era of 'Abd al-Rahman ibn Khaldun (1332-1406). He then explores the emergence of new terms based on the classical texts with new meanings in the era of Arabism from the end of the 19the century until 1940. Finally, he presents case studies on four religious communities in Syria and Lebanon: the Maronite-Christians, Shi'is, 'Alawis, and Druze. --Reference & Research Book News Firro's book might be read in such a way as to render this complaint incidental. What Firro has done - and done so well - is demonstrate variety and complexity in nationalist sentiment in the Arab Middle East and the insufficiency of the phrase, 'Arab nationalism' in characterizing that sentiment. --Nations and Nationalism Firro s book might be read in such a way as to render this complaint incidental. What Firro has done and done so well is demonstrate variety and complexity in nationalist sentiment in the Arab Middle East and the insufficiency of the phrase, Arab nationalism in characterizing that sentiment. Nations and Nationalism Firro's book might be read in such a way as to render this complaint incidental. What Firro has done - and done so well - is demonstrate variety and complexity in nationalist sentiment in the Arab Middle East and the insufficiency of the phrase, 'Arab nationalism' in characterizing that sentiment. -- Nations and Nationalism

Book Information

ISBN: 9781845193164
Publication date: 1st March 2009
Author: Kais M. Firro
Publisher: Sussex Academic Press
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 201 pages
Categories: Nationalism,

About Kais M. Firro

Kais M Firro is Professor of Middle Eastern History at the University of Haifa.

More About Kais M. Firro

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