Islam, Modernity, Ethnicity in Iran:The Evolution of the Nation State and Ethnicity in Iran

Seyedrazaghi, Ali (2022) Islam, Modernity, Ethnicity in Iran:The Evolution of the Nation State and Ethnicity in Iran. PhD thesis, UNSPECIFIED.

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The study of the ethnic issue in Iran and its relationship with national identity in the past several decades has generally been conducted according to the dominant metanarratives about national identity in Iran. In this dissertation, it is argued that these narratives of national identity have widely been made by articulating limited elements of the Iranian sociological structure, and a reductionist re-reading of cultural heritage in Iran, as well as ignoring the importance of the diversity of ethnic identity in Iran. Criticizing the theoretical and methodological structure of these hegemonic narratives, this dissertation considers it possible to understand the relationship between national and ethnic identity in Iran within a constructivist understanding of identity, a theory that emphasizes the constructiveness and variability of identity. By adding the concept of episteme and identifying the existence of two different epistemes before and after the constitutional period in Iran, this dissertation emphasizes that the ethnic issue in Iran must be conceptualized within a large transition from traditional to modern order in this country. While in hegemonic narratives the ethnic crisis is presented as the product of foreign intervention or the ambitiousness of ethnic elites, this dissertation, with a focus on the emergence of modern Azerbaijani ethnic identity in Iran, argues that the ethnic issue is essentially the product of Islamic epistemic clash with modernity and the result of the change in the nature of the existing identities within the Islamic episteme along with the advent of structures that do not correspond to the realities of Iranian society. In the second stage, this dissertation emphasizes that the emergence of modern ethnic identity in Iran should also be related to the conceptualization of national identity in Iran, which has not been linked with the diverse ethnic, linguistic and cultural structure of Iran. The framework for the development of this type of conceptualization of national identity is shaped by the European experience. This framework for conceptualizing national identity, while in the European experience has led to the formation of nation-states with coherent national identities, its application in Iran, resulted in the ethnic discontent in Iran.

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Thesis (PhD)
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08 Dec 2022 11:55
Last Modified:
12 Sep 2023 00:55