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Parellel discursive fields in pre-revolutionary Russia and Iran: the West as a model or an anti-model

Tazmini, Ghoncheh (2021) Parellel discursive fields in pre-revolutionary Russia and Iran: the West as a model or an anti-model. British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies. ISSN 1353-0194

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Identification Number: 10.1080/13530194.2021.1981232


Iranian and Russian intellectual traditions reveal a similar discursive genealogy in relation to Western modernity. Differing in social context, historical periodization, goals, methods and scope of inquiry, Iranian and Russian political debate reflects fascinating parallels, some of which prevail today. The debate over orientation reflects contemporary Iran and Russia’s deep-rooted ambivalence towards Western norms and institutions. This study delves deeper into this dilemma by revealing that both countries are heirs to a similar intellectual heritage that casts the West in a binary: as either a model or as an anti-model. In the case of Iran, this took form in the ‘Westoxication’ narrative that developed as a counter-discourse to the early twentieth-century debate that drew on Western liberal principles, and in the case of Russia, it manifested in the Slavophile-Westernizer controversy. Both intellectual debates were embedded in a complex exercise of self-reflection, with psychological, historiographic and religio-cultural dimensions that ultimately revealed a pattern that illuminates the contemporary dilemma that persists in both countries.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2021 British Society for Middle Eastern Studies.
Divisions: Middle East Centre
Subjects: J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
J Political Science > JQ Political institutions Asia
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Date Deposited: 21 Jan 2022 14:21
Last Modified: 01 Feb 2022 17:30

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