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Nation as neighborhood: how Bab al-Hara dramatized Syrian identity

Al-Ghazzi, Omar ORCID: 0000-0001-9905-409X (2013) Nation as neighborhood: how Bab al-Hara dramatized Syrian identity. Media, Culture and Society, 35 (5). pp. 586-601. ISSN 0163-4437

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Identification Number: 10.1177/0163443713485493


This article discusses a popular Syrian television drama series, Bab al-Hara (The Neighborhood Gate), which ran for five seasons (2006–10). It is part of a genre of television series called the “Damascene milieu,” which nostalgically dramatizes life in imagined Damascene neighborhoods in the late 19th or early 20th centuries. The narrative of Bab al-Hara focuses on how a Syrian community lived under and resisted French colonial rule and its local collaborators. The article argues that the strategic imagination of the past in the series reflects the Syrian regime’s project of national consolidation in Syria, a country sharply divided by class, sect, and local belonging and desperately seeking to bridge a gap between state authority and a national sense of belonging. However, within the context of the 2011 uprising, both regime and opposition discourses echoed themes and symbols from the series – demonstrating its political relevance. The article concludes that the series is a spectacular example of how popular culture, particularly in postcolonial and authoritarian contexts, contributes to the imagination of identity and memory in ways that are used by different national groups to bolster and contest political positions.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2013 The Author
Divisions: Media and Communications
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Date Deposited: 10 Aug 2017 15:44
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2024 00:00

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