The State of Labor and Labor for the State: Syrian and Egyptian Cinema beyond the 2011 Uprisings

By Dickinson, Kay | Framework, Spring 2012 | Go to article overview

The State of Labor and Labor for the State: Syrian and Egyptian Cinema beyond the 2011 Uprisings


Dickinson, Kay, Framework


On April 8, 2011, swifton the heels of several Arab insurrections and very much in the midst of others, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) issued an economic assessment of the region. Given the prior "strong overall growth" of countries like Egypt and Tunisia, the or ga ni za tion confessed it had been caught somewhat unawares by this turn of events. Wealth, it admitted, could no longer be judged at averaged- out mathematical face value: "The IMF should have paid more attention to the distribution of income, not just aggregate results ... [it will] begin incorporating more data on unemployment and in e qual ity into its analysis."1 The eyes of leftist observers might roll here; some "told you so's" over the inadequacy and callousness of neoliberal doctrines of accounting would not be unwarranted. But, beyond such easy, reactive rejoinders, the fact remains that work and wealth allocation have strongly affected the contours of each Arab community's commitments to revolutionary change, and will continue to do so. Their diverse responses to "unemployment and in e qual ity," the kinds that have been negligently sidelined within the IMF's factorings, will serve as a starting point for the following argument.

The media industries lie firmly implanted within the lived experience of the uprisings and their provocations. Furthermore, as most commentators observe, the media have proven pivotal to the demands for change, certainly by transmitting recorded incitements to and distributable documents of protest, but also, as I argue here, because as places of work, the media are vigorously shaped by the very same figurings of financial and labor inegality to which the IMF belatedly alert us. A thorough understanding of these relationships, I contest, must tackle the tight po liti cal and economic bonds between the state and the media industries in the Arab world. The fight for fair employment rights (class struggle, ultimately) has long been waged in front of the camera and behind it; revolution is far from an unfamiliar concept in these spaces, although previous definitions may not conform to today's incarnations.

Darting between Syrian and Egyptian history, this article assumes a comparative demeanor in order to highlight, sometimes through jarring juxtaposition, the repercussions of these countries' dissimilar labor policies. More particularly, a to- and- fro between their very different national movie industries allows for a tracing out of the relativity of antigovernmental rebellions. Doing so can also unearth paradigms for circumventing some of the insufferable conditions that prompted them and that the IMF has so damagingly overlooked. I have specifically selected these two nation- states because they once shared a commitment to Arab socialism and now unite in outwardly similar antiautocratic revolution. However, their routes from the former to the latter markedly digress due to divergent choices over economic governance that raise an abundance of questions about, and perhaps even answers to how, "unemployment and in e qual ity" might best be abated. The analysis below concentrates more lingeringly on Syria, precisely because Syria has sought to spurn the types of economic dogma insisted upon by the IMF. My prioritization therefore allows for a prolonged engagement with Syria's conceptualizations of labor, wealth, value, and freedom. Such postulates have much to offer a critique of the capitalist actualities that dominate throughout the world, including in Egypt- a country that has been unsuccessfully attempting to make good through IMF structural adjustment programs since 1991.

There is one fundamental disparity: Egypt's unrest in 2011 sprung dramatically from a groundswell of labor activism; Syria's not so declaredly. Syrians have pitted themselves much more singularly against their entrenched ruling dictatorship. Undoubtedly, as the Western press have euphorically reported (and its humanities academics eagerly absorbed), Egypt's upper middle classes were mobilized via social media like Twitter and Facebook. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The State of Labor and Labor for the State: Syrian and Egyptian Cinema beyond the 2011 Uprisings
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.