The Politics of Love
Fig. 1. The Politics of Love. Courtesy of Lexington Books, 2013.

Lexington Books published a book titled "The Politics of Love: Sexuality, Gender, and Marriage in Syrian Television Drama" written by Rebecca Joubin.

Publication Data

Joubin, Rebecca. The Politics of Love: Sexuality, Gender, and Marriage in Syrian Television Drama. Lexington Books, 2013. ISBN: 978-0-7391-8429-5.

Description

Dramatic miniseries are the primary arena for the expression of postcolonial Syrian culture and artistic talent, an arena that unites diverse aspects of artisanship in a struggle over visions of the past, present, and future of the nation. As the tour de force of the television medium, blossoming amidst persisting authoritarianism, these miniseries serve as a crucial and complex artistic avenue through which political and social opposition manifests. Scholars have tried to come to terms with a highly critical culture produced within attempted state co-optation, and argue that politically critical culture operates as a “safety valve” to release frustrations so that dissenters are less likely to mobilize against the government.

Through research fueled by a viewing of over two hundred and fifty miniseries ranging from the 1960s to the present—as well as an examination of hundreds of press reports, Facebook pages, and extensive interviews with drama creators—this book turns away from the dominant paradigm that focuses on regime intent. When turning attention instead to the drama creators themselves we witness the polyphony of voices employing love and marriage metaphors and gender (de)constructions to explore larger issues of nationalism, self-identity, and political critique. At the heart of constructions of femininity are the complications that arise with the symbiosis of pure femininity with authentic national identity. Deconstructing masculinity as political critique has been less complicated since it is not implicated in Western identity issues; on the contrary, illustrations of subservient masculinity serve to subtly denounce government corruption and oppression. Miniseries from the 1960s demonstrate that the focus of the qabaday (tough man) on female sexuality comes from his own political alienation vis-à-vis the state, and is part of a vicious cycle of state violence vis-à-vis the citizen. In recent years, and in particular after the uprising, we can see the emerging definition of the true qabaday as one who does not suppress a woman’s sexuality, thereby allowing for full equality in relationships as the basis of a truly free society.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Televisuality of Syrian Popular Culture
Chapter 1: The Politics Behind Syrian Television Drama
Chapter 2: Political Parodies and Embattled Masculinity: Prison and Marriage Metaphors in Early Syrian Television Drama and Theater, 1960s-80s
Chapter 3: Marriage Metaphors in Contemporary Tales of the Late 1980s and 1990s: Fighting the Dictator Within 
Chapter 4: The Development of the Politics of Qabadayat and the State in Early Historical Fiction Genre (1990s)
Chapter 5: Fantasy of the Masculine Hero: Qabadayat Fighting Colonial Power in the Bi’a Shamiyyeh (Old Damascus) Genre (2000 Onward)
Chapter 6: Subordinate and Subversive Masculinities as Political Protest in Bi’a Shamiyyeh Historical Tales
Chapter 7: Embattled Masculinity in Contemporary Tales: The Crisis of Qabadayat
Chapter 8: On the Trials of Love and Sexuality Before Marriage in Contemporary Tales
Chapter 9: Cultural Deconstructions of Femininity and Self-Identity in Marriage in Contemporary Tales
Afterward: Drama Preparation Amidst an Uprising: Debates, Challenges, and New Directions

About the Author

Rebecca Joubin is assistant professor and chair of Arab studies at Davidson College. Her articles in Arabic and English have been published in the International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Arab Studies Journal, Radical Society, The Cairo Times, al-Kifa al-Arabi, and al-Mada.

To order the book online visit the Rowman website.