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Being Modern in Iran

ISBN-10: 0231119410
ISBN-13: 9780231119412
Edition: 2000
Authors: Fariba Adelkhah
List price: $36.00 Buy it from $18.08
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Description: 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  More...

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Book details

List price: $36.00
Copyright year: 2000
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication date: 5/19/2004
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 208
Size: 5.00" wide x 8.50" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.242
Language: English

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.

Fariba Adelkhah is a senior researcher at the Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches Internationales (CERI/Sciences-po) in Paris.

Acknowledgements
Preface to the English edition
Introduction: A Political Earthquake
When Taxes Bloom in Tehran
Giving Islamic Legitimacy to Taxation
The 'Rentier State' and Taxation in Iran
A Look Inside the Mayor's Gardens
Parks as Scenes of Conflict
The Man of Integrity: A Matter of Style
Javanmardi as a Package
Teyyeb: A Very Ambiguous Hero
The Fruit and Vegetable Market: Inventing Tradition
Javanmardi and Contemporary Life
Javanmardi as a Modern Political 'Imaginaire'
The Economics of Beneficence: Generosity and Business Orientation
Two Islamic Credit Networks
Open-Handedness as a Social Movement
Social Beings, Political Beings: The Story of an Election
The Election Campaign
From the First Round to the Second
Local Issues in an Election
The Strategy of Companies (Sherkat)
Politics in its Own Right, No Longer Sacred
Elections and Political Reformulation
A New Public Space for Islam?
Institutionalising the Religious Sphere
Rationalising and Individualising Processes in Islam
Towards Money Orientation in the Religious Field
Looking after Number One: A Competitive Society
A Sports-mad Republic
Competition and Self-Reflexivity
Self-Reflexivity and Relations with Others
From Social Relations to Social Regulations?
Conclusion
Glossary
Index

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