Rebel Populism – Revolution and Loss Among Syrian Labourers in Beirut

26 September 2022


Rebel populismtells the story of the Syrian uprising through the eyes of migrant workers in Beirut. Workers from Syria have maintained a presence in Lebanon for decades. There was a time when their wages stretched further back home. However, from the mid-2000s, liberalising reforms saw accelerating levels of poverty. Migration shifted from an ‘opportunity’ to a survivalist strategy.  
But in 2011, revolution came to Syria. Rural towns and villages – the birthplaces of this book’s principal characters – exploded in revolt. Several men returned, some later joining armed militias, but even those who remained abroad found means to protest at a distance. This political moment, which Proudfoot conceptualises as an example of ‘rebellious populism,’ also represents an increasingly common global contentious political formation. It is a form of mass politics which emerges not via a charismatic orator or longstanding ideological convictions, but through the weaving together of grievances aimed at the ruling class. Drawing on extensive ethnographic fieldwork, Rebel populism offers fresh and vital insight into Syrian uprising, war and ultimate crisis. 

This event will take place on Monday, 26th of September 2022, at 6:00 pm Amman time, 4 pm in the UK.

To register to attend the live event online on Zoom, please register here.

If you plan to attend the talk at CBRL Amman Institute (6 Al-Baouneyah Street, Qaiwar Complex, Jabal Al-Lweibdeh), please register using this form.

Questions and cancellations, please contact [email protected].

The event will also be made available on CBRL’s YouTube channel.

About the speaker: 

Philip Proudfoot is an anthropologist based in the Power and Popular Politics Cluster at the Institute of Development Studies. He is also the former Assistant Director of CBRL Amman. Philip’s work explores the political economy of de-development, forced migration, gender and sexuality, humanitarianism, protracted conflict, and populist mass movements.

Follow Philip on Twitter @PhilipProudfoot