Start with the art

New ways of understanding the political in the Middle East

Authored by: Kirsten Scheid

Routledge Handbook of Middle East Politics

Print publication date:  April  2020
Online publication date:  March  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138047631
eBook ISBN: 9781315170688
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315170688-34

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Abstract

Art is relevant to ongoing life in the Middle East and, consequently, key to studying it. Cases from Egypt, Syria, and Palestine show that studying art can help you understand local society, politics, and processes because unpacking how art is made, identifying concepts people think through art, or tracking how people’s subjectivities form in art processes gives access to aspects of their lives that do not fit conventional maps, dictionaries, or teleologies. Categorical junctures found in art can alert us to ones that are imaginable, tangible, and motivating for the people we study, despite their “messiness.”

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