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The government of Yemen, unified since 1990, remains largely incapable of controlling violence or providing goods and services to its population, but the regime continues to endure despite its fragility and peripheral location in the global political and economic order. Revealing what holds Yemen together in such tenuous circumstances, "Peripheral Visions" shows how citizens form national attachments even in the absence of strong state institutions.Lisa Wedeen, who spent a year and a half in Yemen observing and interviewing its residents, argues that national solidarity in such weak states tends to arise not from attachments to institutions but through both extraordinary events and the ordinary activities of everyday life. Yemenis, for example, regularly gather to chew at, a leafy drug similar to caffeine, as they engage in wide-ranging and sometimes influential public discussions of even the most divisive political and social issues. These lively debates exemplify Wedeen's contention that democratic, national, and pious solidarities work as ongoing, performative practices that enact and reproduce a citizenry's shared points of reference. Ultimately, her skillful evocations of such practices shift attention away from a narrow focus on government institutions and electoral competition and toward the substantive experience of participatory politics.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780226877914
ISBN-10: 0226877914
Format: Paperback
(231mm x 158mm x 18mm)
Pages: 288
Imprint: University of Chicago Press
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
Publish Date: 19-Sep-2008
Country of Publication: United States

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Author Biography - Lisa Wedeen

Lisa Wedeen is professor in and chair of the Department of Political Science at the University of Chicago and the author of Ambiguities of Domination: Politics, Rhetoric, and Symbols in Contemporary Syria.

Books By Author Lisa Wedeen

Ambiguities of Domination by Lisa Wedeen

Ambiguities of Domination

Paperback, September 2015
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