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Tradition and modernity: Reflection on the historiography of transformation and change in Modern Iran

Tradition and modernity: Reflection on the historiography of transformation and change in Modern Iran
Tradition and modernity: Reflection on the historiography of transformation and change in Modern Iran
The history of non-Western countries in the last two centuries is perceived as, and marked by, antagonism between tradition and modernity. After a critical survey of a sample of the current historiography and by focusing on the Iranian case of modernisation, this essay contends that since the colonial period, modernity has been perceived and applied differently in the West to many non-Western countries: In the West, modernity is made of a process of evolution and transformation of society and politics. In non-Western countries, on the other hand, modernity is “imported” rather than associated with a process of transformation and modernisation of local resources. I argue that this is mainly a consequence of the colonial period, which has deeply marked history and society to such an extent that both modernists and traditionalists share a common historical perspective: antagonism between modernity and tradition. Inspired by “constructivist” approach, the essay provides a different reading of history where modernisation is a historical process in which both tradition and modernity are involved, with local resources playing a key role in the insemination, implementation and adaptation of new ideas and institutions. By drawing on a selection of case studies in Iran, it demonstrates how the practice of “modernisation” in non-Western countries is informed by the above-mentioned perception of modernity and why and how the history of modernisation should be rewritten.
1353-0194
Ebrahimnejad, Hormoz
50cc6b3c-c322-46e8-b735-2be331cdc9ea
Ebrahimnejad, Hormoz
50cc6b3c-c322-46e8-b735-2be331cdc9ea

Ebrahimnejad, Hormoz (2018) Tradition and modernity: Reflection on the historiography of transformation and change in Modern Iran. British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies. (In Press)

Record type: Article

Abstract

The history of non-Western countries in the last two centuries is perceived as, and marked by, antagonism between tradition and modernity. After a critical survey of a sample of the current historiography and by focusing on the Iranian case of modernisation, this essay contends that since the colonial period, modernity has been perceived and applied differently in the West to many non-Western countries: In the West, modernity is made of a process of evolution and transformation of society and politics. In non-Western countries, on the other hand, modernity is “imported” rather than associated with a process of transformation and modernisation of local resources. I argue that this is mainly a consequence of the colonial period, which has deeply marked history and society to such an extent that both modernists and traditionalists share a common historical perspective: antagonism between modernity and tradition. Inspired by “constructivist” approach, the essay provides a different reading of history where modernisation is a historical process in which both tradition and modernity are involved, with local resources playing a key role in the insemination, implementation and adaptation of new ideas and institutions. By drawing on a selection of case studies in Iran, it demonstrates how the practice of “modernisation” in non-Western countries is informed by the above-mentioned perception of modernity and why and how the history of modernisation should be rewritten.

Text
Tradition and Modernity final version28Aug2018 - Accepted Manuscript
Restricted to Repository staff only until 4 May 2020.
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Accepted/In Press date: 4 August 2018

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 424440
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/424440
ISSN: 1353-0194
PURE UUID: 6e7f0a19-1b70-40cc-9647-374efad1e52a

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Date deposited: 05 Oct 2018 11:37
Last modified: 13 Mar 2019 18:06

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