Intellectual Discourse and the Politics of Modernization: Negotiating Modernity in Iran

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In this thought-provoking book, Ali Mirsepassi explores the concept of modernity and exposes the Eurocentric prejudices underlying its development. He provides a new interpretation of Islamic Fundamentalism through a detailed analysis of the ideas of key Islamic intellectuals and argues that the Iranian Revolution was not a simple clash between modernity and tradition but an attempt to accommodate modernity within a sense of authentic Islamic identity and culture.
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" excellent addition to the on-going debates in sociology and the Middle East." Contemporary Sociology
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Table of Contents

Introduction: modernity and "culture" 1
1 Western narratives of modernity 15
Orientalism and the Occidentalist discontent 15
Montesquieu's Persian Letters 18
Hegel: the colonization of world history 24
Karl Marx: the materialist narrative of modernity 36
The "popularization" of the Islamic Other 40
2 Reconciling with the West's Other 54
The Mashruteh movement: reconciliation through capitulation 55
3 The crisis of secularism and the rise of political Islam 65
The decline of democratic secularism (1941-53) 66
Modernization and its discontent 73
The politicization of Shi'ism 79
Reform in Shi'i institutions 84
4 Islam as a modernizing ideology: Al-e Ahmad and Shari'ati 96
Al-e Ahmad: "return" to the "roots" 97
Ali Shari'ati: Islamic ideology as an authentic discourse 114
5 German intellectuals and the culture of modernity 129
The German context 131
The "discourse of authenticity" in Friedrich Nietzsche and Ernst Junger 137
Martin Heidegger 146
6 The tragedy of the Iranian Left 159
A brief history of socialist movements 160
The Revolution and the Left 164
The social bases and composition of the Left 171
Critiques of the Left 175
A response to the critiques 177
7 Modernities of our time 180
The "Islamic mind" 180
Modernization and the survival of cultures 186
Predicament of secularism 189
Theoretical and political implications 191
Notes 194
Bibliography 216
Index 224
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