Rebel populism

Revolution and loss among Syrian labourers in Beirut

Rebel Populism describes the Syrian uprising and civil war through the eyes of Syrian migrant workers and refugees in Beirut. The book relies on many years of participant-observation in Lebanon, hundreds of semi-structured interviews, as well as life history collection, image and video cataloguing, and focus group analysis.

Based on this data, it describes, first, how the same socio-economic pressures that pushed the people to revolt against the Syrian government can be located in the transformation of labour migration to Lebanon from a once temporary means of accumulating future-directed savings to a faltering survivalist strategy unable to keep pace with a growing gap between wages and prices. Syrian workers expressed their bottom-up insurgent anti-regime politics through the circulating protest art, anti-regime video clips, and alternative news sources. However, as the uprising collapsed into today’s bloody proxy war, the book then moves to chart how the men began to instead seek to build lives for themselves in Lebanon despite intense social, economic, and legal uncertainty. "

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