This introductory chapter provides a background of Arab patriotism. Patriotism in Arabic became manifest in two aspects. Firstly, it was an empire-wide ideology of power that provided a tactical vocabulary for Arabic-speaking elites to negotiate co-operation among themselves and with the Ottoman system. In the Egyptian province, it served the goal of achieving a tacit compromise with the semi-independent governor. Secondly, patriotism was a communal emotion, a physical experience of togetherness, constituted in and through public occasions. Such experiences allowed elite and ordinary individuals to imagine themselves as part of a community. Importantly, these were not just any experiences, but experiences that were made possible by new, public practices, institutions, and technologies. This book, therefore, focuses on performance culture as a key aspect of patriotism.
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