This article addresses how and why the popular mobilization in Syria took off in the "peripheral" Dar'a region. Accordingly, it focuses on the province's dense social networks involving clans, labor migration, cross-border movements, and crime. It argues that Dar'a's social networks were important early in Syrian protest for several reasons: (1) They served as sites where nonconforming views on Ba'ath subordination could develop and be shared. (2) They contributed to the transfer, circulation, and interpretation of information whereby the shifting opportunities emanating from events in the region were recognized and the regime's threats were framed in ways that compelled people to act. (3) They provided an important sense of solidarity and presented the background against which recruitment for mobilization took place. (4) Finally, they provided key skills and resources for mobilization to be effective. Thanks to their miscibility, Dar'a's dense social networks substituted for the role attributed to brokers in social movement theory. They effectively connected individuals of different origins and strata in an otherwise prohibitive authoritarian context.

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