The Civil Society Discourse in Iran
A survey of recent Iranian books and journal articles reveals four important characteristics about how writers and academics in Iran generally perceive the concept of civil society. First and foremost, the notion of 'civil society' has gone through a substantial process of indigenization. Secondly, those who theorize about the concept see a crucial role in it for the 'rule of law'. This implies, both directly and indirectly, a primary role for the State, 'coexisting in harmony' and functioning as an integral part of civil society. Thirdly, even Iran's secular theorists have not been able to fully evade the gravitational pull of Islam and its overwhelming role in Iranian culture and society. At the very least, they maintain that civil society is possible only after a 'proper' interpretation of Islam gains popular acceptance. Finally, these authors frequently mention the 'image' that non-Iranians have of the Iranian nation. The importance of this self-perception lies in its implications for how the élite literati articulates 'culture' and portrays it to the public and, in turn, to non-Iranians.
External LinkDOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/13530190120083068
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British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, 28(2).
Taylor & Francis
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