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Democracy in Modern IranIslam, Culture, and Political Change$
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Ali Mirsepassi

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780814795644

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814795644.001.0001

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Democracy and Culture

(p.1) Introduction
Democracy in Modern Iran

Ali Mirsepassi

NYU Press

This introductory chapter presents the rationale of the book. This book offers a sociological perspective on the history of the struggle to achieve modernity and democracy in contemporary Iran. It argues that Islam, as a religion, cultural practice, and democracy—and as a nonviolent way to organize political order—is both socially rooted and can be best understood and reconciled within a sociological and institutionally grounded perspective. This contrasts with the dominant current of thought among many prominent Iranian intellectuals, a discourse which argues that “Islamic culture” rests on an archaic set of fixed ideas and beliefs inherently hostile to democratization in Iran. The thinkers of this school argue that a radical philosophical critique of the history of ideas is called for as a fundamental prerequisite both to resolve the present political crisis and ensure the future well-being of the country.

Keywords:   modernity, democracy, Iran, Islam, political order, Islamic culture, political crisis

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