Two recent (March, 2015) publications by the ACRPS tackle issues with immense relevance to contemporary Arab society and the globe at large. One of these, a republication of Raif Khoury’s Features of National Consciousness 74 years after it first appeared presents a renewed, optimistic and demystified view of Arab nationalism at a time when the Middle East is being ravished by sub-national chauvinisms. In addition, an Arabic translations of Darin Barney’s The Network Society (2004) brings some fundamental insights into the nature of human societies impacted by cybernetics to an Arabic speaking audience.
Details of both books can be found on the ACRPS' electronic bookstore.
The ACRPS has issued a new edition of Raif Khoury’s Features of National Consciousness (link in Arabic, ISBN: 978-614-445-015-4, 184 pp). First published in 1941, this book provides an invaluable insight into Arab nationalist thinking at a time when Europe was riven by ideological conflict. Khoury (1913- 1967), a Lebanese historian and intellectual, wrote extensively on the need to combat fascism and the Nazi movement, which he viewed as a threat to the integrity and the stability of the Arab region. The author of more than 20 books, Khoury studied and taught in Syria, Palestine and Lebanon. A staunch political activist, he had agitated against Zionist colonization during the Great Arab Revolt of 1936-1939, and strongly opposed the UN’s 1947 Partition Plan for Palestine.
In Features of National Consciousness Khoury offers a compelling critique of Constantine Zureiq’s The Arab Consciousness (1939). Alluding to Zureiq’s spiritualism and what he called his “tiresome preaching”, Khoury criticizes Zureiq’s disregard for materialist Western philosophers, noting that The Arab Consciousness is replete with references to Plato and Kant but leaves out philosophers such as Francis Bacon, Feurbach and John Locke. In sharp contrast to the idealist, utopian vision promulgated by Zureiq, Khoury offers a more realist, dialectical vision of Arab nationalism. Even whilst quoting Khalil Gibran at the end of the book: “My Lebanon is the peasants…the shepherds…the vineyard keepers…the builders…the weavers and the foundry workers”, Khoury ‘s idea of nationalism remains strongly rooted in labor, paying homage to the working classes of the Arab nation rather than the elite in their ivory towers.
Raif Khoury on the cover of his book, republished in 2015 by the ACRPS.
In this new edition published by the ACRPS, a second section is added featuring a selection of articles and essays published by Khoury in Lebanese and Syrian newspapers, offering a glimpse into the conceptual development of Arab nationalism. The articles also reflect the author’s understanding of Arab nationalism as a progressive, liberating movement, and his belief that there can be no genuine independence of Arab countries without their unification. Poignantly for today’s audience, he also decried the multitude of poisonous chauvinisms that allowed imperialist powers a backdoor into influencing the Arab region.
This book is part of From the Folds of History, a series of publications by the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies which seeks to re-publish historical works of Arabic scholarship that are no longer in print.
The ACRPS has recently published Darin Barney’s The Network Society in Arabic (link in Arabic, ISBN: 978-0745626680, 268 pp.). This Arabic edition provides its new readership with the key points of Barney’s arguments on topical subjects such as the knowledge economy; the definition of labor and unemployment in the digital age; the impacts of the digital age on the nation-state; the emergence of new social movements; and community and identity in the age of new media. All of this it provides in clear, accessible language that meticulously examines developments in technology.
An indispensable resource for humanities scholars, this book investigates the impact of the digital revolution on our daily lives. Have new informatics and communications technologies created a novel society, or merely bolstered previously existing relationships and patterns of power? What are the political and societal impacts of network technologies and their application to a wide range of practices throughout modern society? These questions and more are addressed by the author through an adroit understanding of the relationship between society and technology.
Split into five chapters, Barney’s first chapter “Network Society” situates the notion of a digital society within a wider context of the theories and approaches that typified the late 20th century. It also provides a detailed analysis of the structure of modern networks, providing a concise explanation of how the various aspects of a network society impact identity, the economy and politics. The second chapter, “Network Technology”, examines the relationship between social forms and technology, and concludes with an overview of the features of present-day network technologies, which the author describes as the most influential on contemporary society. In “Network Economy”, the readers are presented with an exhaustive description of the relationship between capitalism and the network society, suggesting that any network society must inherently be a capitalist one, and that the economic order of a network society is inextricably linked to the dynamics of economic globalism. Barney then goes on to discuss the relationship between politics and the network in “Network Politics”, in which he discusses the oft proclaimed implosion of the nation state in the wake of globalization, and where he also tries to challenge some of the assumptions on democracy in the midst of a network society.
The Arabic cover of Darin Barney's The Network Society, published by the ACRPS in March, 2015.
In the final chapter, “Network Identity” Barney looks at how network technologies impact both individual and group identities. He explains how the network society allows for a dissolution of the borders that keep identity within strict confines, and allows for a detached form of identity to move, with increasing ease, across formerly impermeable geopolitical boundaries. Barney claims that the nation state has not only drawn back in terms of political and economic activity, but also with respect to its ability to sustain identity, culture and the collective, bringing all of us to the brink of the post-national phase.
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