The nation-state form and the emergence of 'minorities' in Syria

White, B. T. (2007) The nation-state form and the emergence of 'minorities' in Syria. Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism, 7(1), pp. 64-85. (doi: 10.1111/j.1754-9469.2007.tb00108.x)

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Minorities are specifically modern political groupings: they belong to the era of nation-states. This article explores the emergence of minorities in Syria under the French mandate. It examines the contradictions caused by French attempts to impose a religious political order within the secular form of the nation-state, showing how that form created minorities, most of whom cannot simply be mapped onto the millets, or religious communities, of the Ottoman Empire. Using French and Syrian sources from the archives of the French High Commission, the article examines various religious and ethnolinguistic minorities to show how their emergence was governed by the nation-state form. French colonial policy influenced their development, but not their existence. The article draws on publications from the nationalist press of the period to show how the formation of minority and majority consciousness constitutes a larger process that is intimately linked to the nationstate form. The Syrian case is presented for comparative study and warns against an unreflective use of 'minority' as an analytical category.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:White, Dr Benjamin Thomas
Authors: White, B. T.
Subjects:D History General and Old World > DE The Mediterranean Region. The Greco-Roman World
D History General and Old World > DS Asia
College/School:College of Arts & Humanities > School of Humanities > History
Journal Name:Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism
ISSN (Online):1754-9469

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