A Historical sociology approach to Iranian nationalism (1921-1979): an IR perspectıve

Özdemir, Zelal
This thesis explores the discourse of Iranian nationalism constructed by the Iranian state between 1921 and 1979. This study unravels the international connections of Iranian nationalism following a framework that sits at the intersection of Historical Sociology, Historical Sociology in International Relations and modernist approaches to nationalism. It argues that the creation and development of the definition of Iranian nationalism is interconnected with the modern state which is itself bound up with the international. In order to understand the nature of the meaning attached to being Iranian/Iranianness/Iraniyat on the part of the state we should look into the specifics of international-domestic interaction, historicise that process and search for multiple causes rather than one single cause. This study shows how the Iranian nationalism has been subject to change alongside the changing dynamics born out of specific interaction between the domestic and international. The elevation of Western-like identity at the beginning of the Reza Shah period, the invention of supposedly racial superiority in the context of rising fascism in Europe, the anti-colonial movement swept through the world and its heavy impact on blossoming of Mussaddeq’s non-aligned nationalism, the Cold War and “Neither East Nor West” discourse of Muhammed Reza Shah, all of these turns of Iranian nationalism reflect the importance of incorporating the realm of international to the domestic historiography.


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The dissertation examines political nationalism as a transformative power of modern Iranian politics at the societal level through historical-sociological study of four mass opposition movements, which are the Constitutional Movement (1906-11), National Front Movement (1949-53), Iranian Revolution Movement (1978-79), and Green Movement (2009). The appeal to nationalism by these opposition movements leads to ask why and how nationalism becomes an overarching ideology of political opposition? What are the str...
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The objective of this thesis is to analyze the Khatami Period of 1997-2005 in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Reform Movement that brought Khatami to the presidency and the grounds of the incongruity between the discourse and the outcomes of the movement is examined. The reasons of this incongruity are the focus of this study. The structure of the thesis is as follows: In the first chapter, a brief summary of the history of democracy in Iran is examined, since in Iran without a historical perspective, it ...
Citation Formats
Z. Özdemir, “A Historical sociology approach to Iranian nationalism (1921-1979): an IR perspectıve,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2016.