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The Syrian Revolution

The Syrian Revolution

Between the Politics of Life and the Geopolitics of Death

Yasser Munif

A contemporary history of political violence and grassroots struggles in Syria since 2011

Understanding the Syrian revolution is unthinkable without an in-depth analysis from below. Paying attention to the complex activities of the grassroots resistance, this book demands we rethink the revolution.

Having lived in Syria for over fifteen years, Yasser Munif is expert in exploring the micropolitics of revolutionary forces. He uncovers how cities are managed, how precious food is distributed and how underground resistance thrives in regions controlled by regime forces. In contrast, the macropolitics of the elite Syrian regime are undemocratic, destructive and counter-revolutionary. Regional powers, Western elites, as well as international institutions choose this macropolitical lens to apprehend the Syrian conflict. By doing so, they also choose to ignore the revolutionaries' struggles.

By looking at the interplay between the two sides, case studies of Aleppo and Manbij and numerous firsthand interviews, Yasser Munif shows us that this macro and geopolitical authoritarianism only brings death, and that by looking at the smaller picture - the local, the grassroots, the revolutionaries - we can see the politics of life emerge.

Yasser Munif is a Sociology Assistant Professor in the institute for Liberal Arts at Emerson College. He is the co-founder of the Global Campaign for Solidarity with the Syrian Revolution.

'In one of the best accounts of the Syrian uprising, Yasser Munif presents a brilliant, if harrowing, forensic analysis of the revolt, the complex and multi-faceted struggles that followed the initial protests, and the horrifying violence the Assad regime unleashed upon the people of Syria. This is a subtle, thoughtful, theoretically grounded political analysis unlike any other' - Laleh Khalili, author of 'Sinews of War and Trade: Shipping and Capitalism in the Arabian Peninsula'

'With the rich detail drawn from inside the Syrian revolution and framed by theoretical insights from Fanon, Deleuze, Mbembe and Bayat, this is a crucial and profound book. An important achievement that should be read not only by those trying to make sense of Syria, but, by all of us struggling to create a human world' - Nigel C Gibson, author of 'Fanonian Practices in South Africa: From Steve Biko to Abahlali baseMjondolo'

'This masterful book combines theoretical sophistication and remarkable empirical detail to paint a novel account of revolution and counter-revolution in Syria. Drawing upon exceptional primary research on the ground in Syria, including nearly 200 interviews, Munif dissects the state's use of technologies and geographies of death to crush any alternative politics and reveals the life-affirming praxis of a grassroots revolution that resisted against all odds' - Wendy Pearlman, author of 'We Crossed a Bridge and It Trembled: Voices from Syria'

'Yasser Munif's excellent book centralizes the grassroots struggles that constituted a 'politics of life' during the Syrian revolution. In doing so, he re-inscribes the experiences of revolutionary actors into the narrative of Syria's conflict. Essential reading for anyone interested in Syria's conflict and its trajectory' - Samer Abboud, author of 'Syria: Hot Spots in Global Politics'

'In the already crowded field of studies of post-2011 Syria, Yasser Munif's book stands out as a most original and stimulating contribution focused on what the author calls "the subterranean territories of the Syrian revolt", i.e. micropolitical processes and grassroots struggles examined through a magnifier primarily rooted in postcolonial thinking' - Gilbert Achcar, author of 'The People Want: A Radical Exploration of the Arab Uprising'

'Through focusing on the often invisible Syrian people and local communities, this book sheds light on the rich tapestry of resistance, de-colonization of space and creative re-imagining of politics which defined the Syrian struggle for freedom and dignity in opposition to the hegemony of the Assad regime' - Leila Al-Shami, co-author of 'Burning Country: Syrians in Revolution and War'

1. Necropolitics: The Taxonomies of Death in Syria
2. The Geography of Death in Aleppo
3. Nation Against State: Popular Nationalism and the Syrian Uprising
4. The Politics of Bread and Micropolitical Resistance
5. Participatory Democracy and Micropolitics in Manbij: An Unthinkable Revolution
Published by Pluto Press in Jan 2020
Paperback ISBN: 9780745340722
Hardcover ISBN: 9780745340715
eBook ISBN: 9781786805812

208 pages

135mm x 215mm