Cultural Confusion; competing narratives in contemporary Iran
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The paradoxical socio-political developments of the Iranian society are due to a serious case of national identity crisis. It has been caused by the competition between four cultural narratives, all of which put a political claim on the Iranian national identity. This thesis first examines each narrative’s worldview and the course of its inclusion in the Iranian society, showing their incompatibilities along the way. From then on, it demonstrates that instead of merely choosing different stances, the majority of the Isfahani society clings on to all narratives at the same time by attempting an inherently disjointed and conflictive conciliation between these narratives. As a result, they mix concepts and ideas with each other which conceptually aren’t mixable. I call this cultural confusion. Finally, by attempting a harmony between essentialism and constructivism, I modify the cultural theory of Seyla Benhabib and come up with an account of culture that can accommodate such an inherently contrasting and heterogeneous account.