The Socio- and Psychogenesis of the Concepts of ‘Return to Self‘ By Ali Shariati and ‘Westoxification‘ By Jalal Al-Ahmad in Iran

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 10:30
Oral Presentation
Behrouz ALIKHANI, Reserch fellow and lecturer at the Institute for Sociology, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Germany, Germany
There is no doubt that the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979 inspired many other movements in the ‘Islamic World’ in order to find a new ideology of resistance against their rulers perceived as illegitimate and alien. Until then, especially during the Cold War, nationalistic and leftist ideologies of resistance dominated.

In this presentation, first I will analyze the socio- and psychogenesis of two important concepts of ‘Return to Self‘ by Ali Shariati and ‘Westoxification‘ by Jalal Al-Ahmad that both emerged in the 1960s in Iran. I also will demonstrate the influence of these two concepts on the Ayattollah Khomaini’s ideology that led to the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979.

The emergence of these two socially influential concepts will be explained as the reaction to the authoritarian way of modernization carried out by Mohamad Reza Shah which took place without adequate social and political integration of the people affected. In this sense, these two concepts symbolically represent notions of previously socially marginalized, stigmatized and uprooted outsiders against their western-oriented and alien perceived political elites in the course of functional democratization. Based on this example, it is also possible to conceptualize the very close connection between socio-economic and habitual developments in a society and their possible non-simultaneity.