This concluding chapter summarizes key themes and presents some final thoughts. The book has shown that the multiplicity of lived ʻAlawi experiences cannot be reduced to the sole question of religion or framed within a monolithic narrative of persecution; that the very attempt to outline a single coherent history of “the ʻAlawis” may indeed be misguided. The sources on which this study has drawn are considerably more accessible, and the social and administrative realities they reflect consistently more mundane and disjointed, than the discourse of the ʻAlawis' supposed exceptionalism would lead one to believe. Therefore, the challenge for historians of ʻAlawi society in Syria and elsewhere is not to use the specific events and structures these sources detail to merely add to the already existing metanarratives of religious oppression, Ottoman misrule, and national resistance but rather to come to a newer and more intricate understanding of that community, and its place in wider Middle Eastern society, by investigating the lives of individual ʻAlawi (and other) actors within the rich diversity of local contexts these sources reveal.
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