Cultural History and Ideology in the Formation of Ba'athist Iraq, 1968-89
This book is about the metamorphosis of national ideology in Ba'thist Iraq. By "ideology" the reference is to a very broad sense of the term, closer to a "collection of political proposals...somewhat intellectualistic" than to a comprehensive world view or an interpretation of history fully, systematically and rigorously thought out, presented and elaborated. Speeches by leading politicans, historiography and the writings of intellectuals in regard to Iraq's political community, are considered here as ideology, even if these ideas do not constitute a complete "politico-social programme". This book is an attempt to follow and analyze the change in the Ba'th party's perception and representation of Iraq as a political community. By resurrecting and imbuing with great national significance elements previously rejected, ignored or downplayed in Ba'th ideology such as territory, race and local pre-Islamic and pre-Arab historical epochs, the Ba'th regime of Iraq has sought to re-shape the collective identification of its countrymen.
In several cases, this reshaping took the form of re-enforcing and fully legitimizing an already existing identification that hitherto the party had looked upon unfavourably.