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Being Modern in Iran

Being Modern in Iran - 00 edition

Being Modern in Iran - 00 edition

ISBN13: 9780231119412

ISBN10: 0231119410

Being Modern in Iran by Fariba Adelkhah - ISBN 9780231119412
Cover type: Paperback
Edition: 00
Copyright: 2000
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Published: 2000
International: No
Being Modern in Iran by Fariba Adelkhah - ISBN 9780231119412

ISBN13: 9780231119412

ISBN10: 0231119410

Cover type: Paperback
Edition: 00

List price: $36.00

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What does it mean to be modern in Iran today? Can one properly speak of modernity in relation to what many consider to be the paradigmatic Islamic state? Since its 1979 revolution seized the world's attention, the Islamic Republic of Iran has remained a subject of misunderstanding, passion, and polemic, making these questions difficult to answer-or even to ask. This book-a study of Iran's political culture in the broadest and deepest sense-looks into both of these questions by examining the tremendous changes taking place in Iran today.

Because of the difficulties posed for researchers and journalists by the nature of the regime, those interested in contemporary Iranian social life have had to rely on a small number of specialized studies-most of which overemphasize the revolution's radical break with the past and focus exclusively on the Republic's Islamic character as the decisive factor in its social reality. But modernity has not simply been banished and excluded from Iran; nor have the effects of globalization passed it by.

Drawing on her extensive ethnographic fieldwork in Iran and an encyclopedic knowledge of contemporary Iranian politics and culture, anthropologist Fariba Adelkhah investigates modernity in the Islamic Republic of Iran by looking at the growth of individualism, the bureaucracy, commercial forces, and rationalization in post-revolution Iran.

Being Modern in Iran ranges over such topics as

  • taxation and Islamic legitimacy;
  • Mayor Kharbaschi's creation of public space in Tehran;
  • the culture of giving;
  • religious economics;
  • the elections of 1996 and 1997, and the popular rejoicing that greeted them;
  • the nation-wide soccer craze;
  • the changing role of clerics;
  • the changing use of the Koran; and
  • the growth of competition in all areas of life.

These subjects are brought to life by vignette discussions of pigeon-fanciers, flower symbolism, funeral rites, dreams, self-help manuals, cosmetics, and much more.

Adelkhah avoids a simpleminded dualism between an "odious," backward, and repressive regime on the one side and a "kindly" civil society representing progress and freedom on the other; rather, she argues that a public space is being created through the existence of many religious, political, and economic activities. This sophisticated anthropology of the Iranian state sheds much-needed light on the unique nature of the social experiment Iran has been experiencing since the revolution.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Introduction: A Political Earthquake

One: When Taxes Bloom in Tehran

I. Giving Islamic Legitimacy to Taxation
II. The 'Rentier State' and Taxation in Iran
III. A Look Inside the Mayor's Gardens
IV. Parks as Scenes of Conflict

Two: The Man of Integrity: A Matter of Style

I. Javanmardi is a Package
II. Teyyeb: A Very Ambiguous Hero
III. The Fruit and Vegetable Market: Inventing Tradition
IV. Javanmardi and Contemporary Life
V. Javanmardi as a Modern Political 'Imaginaire'

Three: The Economics of Beneficence Beings: The Story of an Election

I. The Election Campaign
II. From the First Round to the Second
III. Local Issues in an Election
IV. The Strategy of Companies (Sherkat)
VI. Politics in its Own Right, No Longer Sacred
VII. Elections and Political Reformulation

Five: A New Space for Islam?

I. Institutionalising the Religious Sphere
II. Rationalising and Individualising Processes in Islam
III. Towards Money Orientation in the Religious Field

Six: Looking after Number One: A Competitive Society

I. A Sports-mad Republic
II. Competition and Self-Reflexivity
III. Self-Reflexivity and Relations with Others
IV. From Social Relations to Social Regulations?

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