Nationalist Voices in Jordan: The Street and the State

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University of Texas Press, Sep 15, 2009 - History - 304 pages
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According to conventional wisdom, the national identity of the Jordanian state was defined by the ruling Hashemite family, which has governed the country since the 1920s. But this view overlooks the significant role that the "Arab street"—in this case, ordinary Jordanians and Palestinians—played and continues to play in defining national identity in Jordan and the Fertile Crescent as a whole. Indeed, as this pathfinding study makes clear, "the street" no less than the state has been a major actor in the process of nation building in the Middle East during and after the colonial era.

In this book, Betty Anderson examines the activities of the Jordanian National Movement (JNM), a collection of leftist political parties that worked to promote pan-Arab unity and oppose the continuation of a separate Jordanian state from the 1920s through the 1950s. Using primary sources including memoirs, interviews, poetry, textbooks, and newspapers, as well as archival records, she shows how the expansion of education, new jobs in the public and private sectors, changes in economic relationships, the establishment of national militaries, and the explosion of media outlets all converged to offer ordinary Jordanians and Palestinians (who were under the Jordanian government at the time) an alternative sense of national identity. Anderson convincingly demonstrates that key elements of the JNM's pan-Arab vision and goals influenced and were ultimately adopted by the Hashemite elite, even though the movement itself was politically defeated in 1957.

 

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Contents

One THE WRITING OF A NATIONAL NARRATIVE
1
Two THE DOMAINS OF NATIONAL IDENTITY
12
Three CONCEIVING TRANSJORDAN 19211948
33
Four HASHEMITES AND JORDANIANS 19211948
61
Five HASHEMITES AND PALESTINIANS 19211948
84
Six FORGING THE JORDANIAN NATIONAL MOVEMENT JNM
117
THE STATE AND THE JORDANIAN NATIONAL MOVEMENT JNM 19521956
147
THE JORDANIAN NATIONAL MOVEMENT JNM 19561957
170
Nine THE HASHEMITES ASCENDANT
192
NOTES
207
BIBLIOGRAPHY
245
INDEX
271
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Page 13 - The scraps, patches and rags of daily life must be repeatedly turned into the signs of a coherent national culture, while the very act of the narrative performance interpellates a growing circle of national subjects.

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About the author (2009)

Betty S. Anderson is Associate Professor of Middle East History at Boston University.

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