Colonial Effects

Colonial Effects: The Making of National Identity in Jordan

Joseph A. Massad
Copyright Date: 2001
Pages: 276
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  • Book Info
    Colonial Effects
    Book Description:

    Colonial Effects analyzes the creation and definition of modern Jordanian identity. Massad studies two key institutions-- the law and the military--and uses them to create an original and precise analysis of the development of Jordanian national identity in the postcolonial period.

    Joseph A. Massad engages recent scholarly debates on nationalism and richly fulfills the analytical promise of Michel Foucault's insight that modern institutions and their power to have productive, not merely repressive or coercive, capacities -- though Massad also stresses their continued repressive function.

    His argument is advanced by a consideration of evidence, including images produced by state tourist agencies aimed at attracting Western visitors, the changing and precarious position of women in the newly constructed national space, and such practices as soccer games, music, songs, food, clothing, and shifting accents and dialects.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-50570-3
    Subjects: History, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-17)

    The object of this study is the production of national identity and national culture within Jordan as both a typical and an atypical postcolonial nation-state. Recent studies of nationalism describe the nation as “invented”¹ or “imagined,”² by intellectuals and/or political elites who are producers of, or produced by, the political discourse of nationalism.³ In this study, I am more interested in whether institutions play a role in the production of colonial and postcolonial national identity and culture. More specifically, I examine whether two key state institutions, law and the military, assist in the production of the nation. Do these institutions...

  5. 1 Codifying the Nation: Law and the Articulation of National Identity in Jordan
    (pp. 18-49)

    It has become commonplace to theorize nationalist discourses of the colonial and anticolonial varieties as aiming to produce national identities as essences that transcend time and space that are internalized by national subjects.¹ This view, however, does not consider how these identities are codified in the laws of nation-states and is generally oblivious to the importance of the juridical in its constituting of nationalism. This chapter will explore the juridical dimension of national identities. Arguing that nationalist discourse and juridical discourse subsume each other while simultaneously maintaining a certain separateness, this chapter will attempt to demonstrate how the law produces...

  6. 2 Different Spaces as Different Times: Law and Geography in Jordanian Nationalism
    (pp. 50-99)

    Anticolonial nationalism is structured around the dyad of modernization and tradition. These are conceived both as synchronic temporalities lived in the modality of the nation-state and as diachronic temporalities constituting the linear history of the nation. In the Jordanian case, as in all other nationalisms, the national subjects representing these two temporalities are conceived by nationalism based on considerations of space as geography. Women (those whom bourgeois nationalism constructs as inhabiting the domestic space) and Bedouins (those inhabiting the nonurban desert) are conceived as inhabiting a national time (that of traditional culture) different from men and urbanites (who inhabit the...

  7. 3 Cultural Syncretism or Colonial Mimic Men: Jordan’s Bedouins and the Military Basis of National Identity
    (pp. 100-162)

    The military is the most important homosocial nationalist institution within the confines of the nation-state. Its very raison d’être is the defense of that nation-state. Its symbols and its ideology are so suffused with nationalism that they cannot be conceived without it. Its flag, its anthem, its holidays, its songs, and its sense of cohesion are all nationally defined. As an institution, it is dedicated to the production of a certain species of nationalized beings, nationalists of a different variety from those outside the military institution. Their national existence is predicated not only on a being that is nationally constituted...

  8. 4 Nationalizing the Military: Colonial Legacy as National Heritage
    (pp. 163-221)

    As we saw in the last chapter, the colonial concept of modernization that was deployed in Transjordan by the British Mandatory authorities and by Glubb Pasha was racially and imperially inflected. By virtue of their interrelated racial and colonial status, the colonized had no agency. This colonial modernization aimed at producing the colonized as obedient subjects who can be employed to serve imperial aims. In Jordan, as in many colonized countries, this situation produced two different yet related kinds of anticolonial nationalisms.

    One type, that which rallied around a non-Hashemite Arab nationalism, sought to achieve technological modernization in the European...

  9. 5 The Nation as an Elastic Entity: The Expansion and Contraction of Jordan
    (pp. 222-275)

    In this chapter, I discuss the geographic and demographic expansion and contraction of Jordan and their impact on the development of a Jordanian national identity and national culture. I demonstrate how the arrival of the Palestinian population to what came to be known as the East Bank, as well as the addition of central Palestine to the kingdom, served to consolidate the already developing political unity of the people of Transjordan, and how through the years, the presence of the Palestinians in the country was crucial to the emergence of a specific configuration of Jordanian national identity and national culture...

  10. Concluding Remarks
    (pp. 276-278)

    This study has demonstrated how the colonial institutions of law and the military play both a repressive and a productive role in the constitution of postcolonial national identity and national culture. This is accomplished through the institutionalization of a juridical-disciplinary dyad, which constitutes the colonial and postcolonial modes of governance.

    Transjordan, a territory carved from the Ottoman Empire, was rearranged territorially and demographically by British colonialism and the Hashemite Amir ʿAbdullah and ushered into a new age, the age of the nation-state. To render the new order permanent, a number of strategies were created that led to the imposition of...

  11. Notes
    (pp. 279-352)
  12. Works Cited
    (pp. 353-370)
  13. Index
    (pp. 371-396)