Iran Today: An Encyclopedia of Life in the Islamic Republic

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By Manochehr Dorraj, Mehran Kamrava
Publisher: Greenwood | ISBN: 0313341613
edition 2008 | PDF | 584 pages | 2,6 mb

Iran dominates the media headlines once again and has taken center stage in the U.S. and European Union strategy toward the Middle East. A more nuanced understanding of Iranian society has assumed even greater significance and urgency. Iran Today: An Encyclopedia of the Islamic Republic offers crucial insight for students and the general reader into an often misunderstood and complex country that is shrouded in mystery and misperception.

Heir to a long history and a great culture and civilization, Iran embodies a rich, complex, and diverse mosaic that defines its national identity. Diversity is also the operative word that describes Iranian landscapes and geography, its multiple ethnic groups and their varied cultures and traditions, as well as the uneven and vastly different levels of economic and industrial development, conflicting political tendencies, and different and often contradictory social and cultural outlooks.

Because of its tumultuous recent political history, Iran appears to encapsulate all of these internal differences and stark contrasts somewhat more distinctly than most of its neighbors. The 1978-1979 revolution transformed the society and culture in fundamental ways and redefined social life. It created new institutions of governance and Islamicized the culture, education and the legal system in an attempt to create a new society that would usher in the reign of piety and virtue.

Yet, Islamization had to come to terms with pre-Islamic and illustrious Persian history and culture, as well as the realities of an interdependent, postmodern, globalized world in which, as a developing country, Iran resides in the periphery. Within this framework, the dynamics and complexity of social life in the Islamic Republic unfold. This encyclopedia is the source for up-to-date, authoritative information on a full range of critical topics of interest.

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