The Emergence of Minorities in the Middle East: The Politics of Community in French Mandate Syria

White, B. T. (2011) The Emergence of Minorities in the Middle East: The Politics of Community in French Mandate Syria. Edinburgh University Press: Edinburgh. ISBN 9780748641871

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Abstract

Why, in the years around 1920, did the concept of ‘minority’ suddenly spring to prominence in public affairs worldwide? Within a decade of World War One, the term became fundamental to public and academic understandings of national and international politics, law and society: ‘minorities’, and ‘majorities’ with them, were taken to be an objective reality, both in the present and the past. This book uses a study of Syria under the French mandate to show what historical developments led people to start describing themselves and others as ‘minorities’. Despite French attempts to create territorial, political and legal divisions, the mandate period saw the consolidation of the nation-state form in Syria: a trend towards a coherent national territory with fixed borders, uniform state authority within them and the struggle to control that state played out in the language of nationalism – developments in the post-Ottoman Levant which closely paralleled those in contemporary Europe, after the demise of the Austro-Hungarian and tsarist empires. Through close attention to what changed in French mandate Syria, and what those changes meant, the book argues for a careful rethinking of a term too often used as an objective description of reality.

Item Type:Books
Keywords:Minority, public affairs, majorities, French mandate, Syria, nation-state
Status:Published
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:White, Dr Benjamin Thomas
Authors: White, B. T.
Subjects:D History General and Old World > D History (General)
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D204 Modern History
D History General and Old World > DE The Mediterranean Region. The Greco-Roman World
College/School:College of Arts > School of Humanities > History
Publisher:Edinburgh University Press
ISBN:9780748641871
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