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Modernity in Iran – Iran’s Century Old Civil War: Political Discourses in Dispute

Modernity in Iran – Iran’s Century Old Civil War: Political Discourses in Dispute

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During the past 100 years, Iran has been involved in a prolonged civil war according to Aram Hessami, a political theorist. This war is fought between the discourse of modernity on the hand and its opposing forces of the Religious-Islamist, the Nationalist-Nativist, and the Marxist-Leninist discourses on the other. He further argues that this war of discourses has had practical ramifications in the entire social, economic, and political structure of Iran’s past 150 years. Hessami claims that it is not the scientific-technological aspect of modernity that has motivated these opposing forces to continue fighting in this war; rather it is the claims of the Enlightenment within the social-human universe that is problematic for these three other discourses. The rationalism, the secularism, humanism, tlegalism, and the individualism of the Western Enlightenment Liberalism are the points of contention for the narratives of all three Islamist, nativists, and the Marxist discourses. Hessami argues that this civil war is turned into a war of attrition which will also define Iran’s next one hundred years.


Political Theorist | + posts

Dr. Aram Hessami is a professor of Political Science and Philosophy at Montgomery College. He received his B.A., M.A., and Doctorate in Political Science & Philosophy from George Washington University. He specializes in Western political thought and post-modern philosophy, with his research focusing on democratic transition, discourse theory, and social change. Dr. Hessami serves as an advisory board member of the Iran 1400 Project. 

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