Nationalist Voices in Jordan: The Street and the State by Betty S. Anderson

By Betty S. Anderson

In accordance with traditional knowledge, the nationwide identification of the Jordanian country was once outlined by way of the ruling Hashemite kinfolk, which has ruled the rustic because the Nineteen Twenties. yet this view overlooks the numerous position that the "Arab street"--in this situation, traditional Jordanians and Palestinians--played and keeps to play in defining nationwide id in Jordan and the Fertile Crescent as an entire. certainly, as this pathfinding learn makes transparent, "the highway" at least the nation has been an incredible actor within the technique of state construction within the heart East in the course of and after the colonial period. during this booklet, Betty Anderson examines the actions of the Jordanian nationwide stream (JNM), a suite of leftist political events that labored to advertise pan-Arab team spirit and oppose the continuation of a separate Jordanian nation from the Twenties throughout the Nineteen Fifties. utilizing fundamental resources together with memoirs, interviews, poetry, textbooks, and newspapers, in addition to archival files, she exhibits how the growth of schooling, new jobs within the private and non-private sectors, alterations in fiscal relationships, the institution of nationwide militaries, and the explosion of media retailers all converged to supply traditional Jordanians and Palestinians (who have been below the Jordanian executive on the time) another feel of nationwide id. Anderson convincingly demonstrates that key parts of the JNM's pan-Arab imaginative and prescient and ambitions encouraged and have been eventually followed by means of the Hashemite elite, although the move itself was once politically defeated in 1957. (200509)

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25 Along with Faysal’s brief kingship over Syria, these events allowed the Hashemites to claim for themselves the overlordship of the Arab na20 the “domains” of nat ional ident it y tionalist movement from that point forward. The Hashemites used this history to superimpose their own narrative over those of the people of Jordan. In this narrative, the Hashemites were not foreigners, but Arab commanders leading Jordan and the region toward unity. Yet Jordan was not a blank slate on which to write as the Hashemite leadership wished.

Michael Fischbach theorizes that maps are a vital component of how people identify themselves vis-à-vis their nation and those of the surrounding region when he says, Much as ideas are given concrete form through words, the notion of a Transjordan separate from the rest of Greater Syria became tangible after the population could locate its new country concretely on a map. The first two generations of Jordanians probably did not come in much contact with 40 conceiving transjordan maps. But the reality remains the same, for by the 1980s the outline of Jordan was a common feature on Jordanian television and the reality of a Jordan mapped in space was real.

Over time this becomes a way of life distinguishable from other ways of life. They develop a distinctive culture and history. Culture embodies those moral, ethical and aesthetic values, the set of spiritual eyeglasses, through which they come to view themselves and their place in the universe. Values are the basis of a people’s identity, their sense of particularity as members of the human race. All this is carried by language. 39 The Arab nationalists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries used this linguistic “memory bank” to construct an historical and cultural narrative for the Arab peoples.

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