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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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A Critical Understanding of Modernity

A Critical Understanding of Modernity

(p.65) 3 A Critical Understanding of Modernity
Democracy in Modern Iran

Ali Mirsepassi

NYU Press

This chapter reflects on the theoretical and intellectual issues of reconciliation with the contemporary world. It argues for a critical understanding of modernity, a willingness to perceive it as a “strong idea” and cultural form in order to promote the evolution of greater democratic self-consciousness in the Iranian national setting. Finally, the chapter discusses Marshal Berman's idea of modernity and its relevance to modernity in Iran. Berman views modernity as “a maelstrom of perpetual disintegration and renewal” whose negativistic tendencies demolish all gods and absolute value systems, but at the same time open doors to new discoveries and new hopes. As a form of life experience, he distinguishes it from modernization, the objective processes that make modernity possible, and from modernism, which he defines as visions, ideas, and values.

Keywords:   reconciliation, modernity, Marshal Berman, Iran, absolute value systems, modernization, modernism

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