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Changing Regime Discourse and Reform in Syria

Aurora Sottimano and Kjetil Selvik
Changing Regime Discourse and Reform in Syria
ISBN: 978-0-9559687-1-6
2008/77 pages
St Andrews Papers on Contemporary Syria
Distributed for the University of St Andrews Centre for Syrian Studies


Moving from the revolutionary rhetoric prominent in the early days of President Hafez al-Assad’s regime to the present stance of the country’s economic reformers and rising business class, this new study traces the evolution of Baathist ideological discourse in Syria.

The first part of the book focuses on the trend, over the course of the first Assad presidency, away from the idea of revolution toward the "disciplining logic" that stressed the need for production, sacrifice, and social peace. Turning to the current regime, the second part highlights the ongoing tensions between those that favor the encouragement of entrepreneurship and their opponents, who are championing a new form of Social Darwinism.


Aurora Sottimano is a Syria specialist at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. Kjetil Selvik is assistant professor in the Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages, University of Oslo, and researcher at the Fafo Institute of Applied International Studies.


  • Foreword: Changing Discourse under the Baath—R. Hinnebusch.
  • Ideology and Discourse in the Era of Baathist Reforms: Towards an Analysis of Authoritarian Governmentality—A. Sottimano.
  • It’s the Mentality, Stupid: Syria’s Turn to the Private Sector—K. Selvik.