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Introduction

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 January 2021

Stephanie Cronin
Affiliation:
University of Oxford
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Summary

The history and historiography of Iran, as of the countries of the wider Middle East, have been dominated by the twin narratives of top-down, elite-driven and state-centred modernization, and methodological nationalism, the assumption that the geographical territory defined by the state and the population within its borders is the primary, and sometimes only, organizing principle for research and analysis. The chapters contained in this book seek to problematize both these narratives. Their attention is firmly on subaltern social groups, including the “dangerous classes,” and their constructed contrast with the new and avowedly modern bourgeois elite created by the infant Pahlavi state; the hungry poor pitted against the deregulation and globalization of the late nineteenth century Iranian economy; rural criminals of every variety, bandits, smugglers and pirates, and the profoundly ambiguous attitudes towards them of the communities from which they came; slaves and the puzzle of their agency. The historical experience of these groups is also deployed in a much larger attempt to understand the wider societies of which they were a part and the nature of the political, economic and cultural authority to which they were subject. In particular they are counterpointed to the praxis of modernism, hegemonic across the world from the late nineteenth to the late twentieth century and depicted here in all its astonishing ambition, reaching from the state itself into the deepest and most intimate layers of everyday life. In addition, and complementary, to this spotlight on subaltern lives, the chapters contained here seek to move beyond a narrow national context, seeking to demonstrate, through a series of case-studies, the explanatory power of global, transnational and comparative approaches to the study of the social history of the Middle East.

Type
Chapter
Information
Social Histories of Iran
Modernism and Marginality in the Middle East
, pp. 1 - 18
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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  • Introduction
  • Stephanie Cronin, University of Oxford
  • Book: Social Histories of Iran
  • Online publication: 26 January 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108120289.001
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  • Introduction
  • Stephanie Cronin, University of Oxford
  • Book: Social Histories of Iran
  • Online publication: 26 January 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108120289.001
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Introduction
  • Stephanie Cronin, University of Oxford
  • Book: Social Histories of Iran
  • Online publication: 26 January 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108120289.001
Available formats
×