Return to the Homeland’s Bosom: The case of Erbeen and Zamalka in the countryside of Damascus
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This thesis examines the state return to ‘liberated areas’ in one district in Syria in the context of a victor’s peace, an economy in strain and an ongoing civil war. Using state in society approach and the literature on authoritarian resilience, it focuses on state institutions as well as national and local elites, as links between state and society and as important actors in the process of authoritarian resilience. Reflecting on the recent state history, state-building efforts, the nature of the state’s institutions, and the pre-conflict state-society relations, the thesis pays attention to the historical settings and state workings at the national and local level and zooms in on a city and town in Eastern Ghouta in the countryside of Damascus to analyse the first phase of state return after 2018. The thesis is one of the first studies to look at local level research and examines the return of the state at the level of towns and cities.