Belonging to Syria. National Identifications before and after 2011
Kathrin Bachleitner, Toby Matthiesen
The five papers in this themed section seek to explain national identifications with Syria using diverse methods and focusing on various state and societal actors before and after 2011. Each contribution engages with the distinction of national identities into their ‘ethnic/primordial’ and ‘civic/constructed’ elements and examines their meaning within Syria in different times and contexts. Since its independence in 1946, Syria experienced strong tensions between sub- and supra-state identities and experimented with diverse territorial nationalisms in their pan-Arab and specifically Syrian forms. Through a distinctive mix of ethnic Arab and civic ideological elements, they helped to forge unity among a multiplicity of ethnicities, tribes and sects living on the Syrian territory and thus were moulded in tandem with the interests of those in power.