Accession Number:

ADA522934

Title:

This is Who We Are: The Politics of Identity in Twentieth Century Iran

Descriptive Note:

Monograph

Corporate Author:

ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MILITARY STUDIES

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

2010-04-01

Pagination or Media Count:

67.0

Abstract:

Since 1925, Iranian governments have purposefully shaped the Iranian national identity in an attempt to socially prioritize membership in nationalist and religious social groups over other groups such as ethnicity or profession. Further, successive Iranian governments have portrayed the United States and other Western nations as specific examples of what Iranians should not be and bearers of ideals they should not follow. During the Pahlavi Dynasty, Reza Khan and his son Mohammed Reza Pahlavi instituted sweeping government and social changes aimed to create a unified Iranian identity based on Irans largest ethnic group Persians. The Pahlavis increased the relative importance of a national Iranian identity, but infringed upon and decreased the importance of Iranian citizens religious identities. Following the Islamic Revolution of 1979, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and his clerical followers instituted a religious autocracy, which subjugated civil law to Sharia Law. Khomeini used Islam, the structure of the new Iranian government, and an identity-based conflict with Iraq as integral parts of a strategy aimed at restoring the importance of Islamic identity to Iranian citizens. Although these governmental efforts to change Iranian identity and narrative succeeded for many years, a growing number of Iranian citizens now reject it. In particular, Irans youngest generation refuses to accept many aspects of the artificial identity their government has thrust upon them, preferring to seek their own alternatives. Iranian government officials have continued to blame the Western Powers for Irans ills, accusing the West of attempting to corrupt the country from within through cultural invasion. The government of Iran uses specific Islamic principles as justification for continued, draconian efforts to steer the identities of their younger generations back into alignment with the Islamic Revolution of 1979.

Subject Categories:

  • Government and Political Science
  • Humanities and History
  • Psychology

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE