By Shabnam J. Holliday
Defining Iran offers a brand new and revealing research of how during which Iranian political discourses compete with one another via studying them in the framework of nationwide id building. via deconstructing the highbrow roots and improvement of Iranian nationwide id, Shabnam Holliday advocates the necessity to research Iran's history and historic event to appreciate key shifts and techniques in modern Iranian politics. Holliday convincingly argues that competing discourses of nationwide id endorsed by means of political figures from Musaddiq to the present management exhibit a politics of resistance to either inner and exterior forces. With a selected emphasis on Khatamiâ€™s presidency, this examine compares the meanings connected by way of major individuals of the Iranian political elite to techniques together with Iranâ€™s pre-Islamic background, Islamic history, civilization, 'democracy' and the 'West'. moreover, discourses of Iranian nationwide identification exist no longer in isolation yet particularly as a part of a continual strategy building and reconstruction in Iran's trip of political improvement; a strategy manifested so vividly within the revolution of 1979 and the fallout from the 2009 presidential election. Defining Iran concurrently furthers our realizing of the conceptualization of nationwide id either regularly and in particular in relation to Iran and political dynamics which form modern Iran.
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Extra resources for Defining Iran: Politics of Resistance
This correlates with Islamist, rather than Muslim, in the English language. Those who are considered to be Muslim in a religious sense, rather than a secular one, are often referred to as m’umin (believer) or bā ‘itiqād (with belief). These labels refer to those who have belief in Islam but do not consider Islam in political terms. Both groups may wear the chador, but do not necessarily have the same attitude towards the role of Islam in society. The chador is often used in British media as the symbol of the Islamic Revolution and consequently has political connotations.
These include ‘Iran before Muslim’; ‘We are only Muslim because we were born here; ‘if we were born somewhere else we would be something else’; and ‘Islam isn’t our religion, it comes from the Arabs … History is our identity’. The first two of these statements come from Iranian women who pray regularly, go on pilgrimage, including to Mecca and would not wear hijāb in public if they were not obliged to. The final statement is from an Iranian man who prays regularly and fasts. The point here is that there is an interesting combination of Īrānīyat (being Iranian) and Islāmīyat; the division between the two aspects of Iranian identity for many are not clear-cut, nor is it the case that being Muslim is necessarily political.
The way that culture is sometimes constructed also illustrates a process of creating binary oppositions. To this regard, Said (1993: xiii-xiv) argues: In time, culture comes to be associated often aggressively, with the nation or the state; this differentiates “us” from “them”, always with some degree of xenophobia. Culture in this sense is a source of identity, and a rather combative one at that, as we see in recent “returns” to culture and tradition. These “returns” accompany rigorous codes of intellectual and moral behaviours that are opposed to the permissiveness associated with such relatively liberal philosophies as multiculturalism and hybridity.
Defining Iran: Politics of Resistance by Shabnam J. Holliday