Liminality and experience: the 1979 revolution in Iran and Shia religious symbols

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Date
2018
Authors
Sharifi Isaloo, Amin
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ISASR in association with the Study of Religions, University College Cork
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Abstract
Drawing on Victor Turner’s emphasis on the importance of symbols and his analyses of liminality together with Wilhelm Dilthey’s explanations of experience, and considering the mimetic theory of René Girard, this article focuses on the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran to explore Shia religion, particularly its symbols, before and after the 1979 revolution in Iran, where religion and politics influence each other. It demonstrates how a Shia ritual performance such as Ta’ziyeh and its symbols played key roles in mobilising crowds for the revolution, and how these symbols began to dominate political life, pervade all levels of society, and enable political actors and revolutionary clerics to legitimise their actions and violence after the revolution. In other words, it investigates how, under such liminal conditions, Shia Muslims’ means of commemorating the past shapes their present and future.
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Keywords
Religion , Revolution , Ta’ziyeh , Liminality , Symbols , Iran , Culture , Imitation , Sacrifice , Ritual
Citation
Amin Sharifi, I. (2018) 'Liminality and Experience: The 1979 Revolution in Iran and Shia Religious Symbols', Journal of the Irish Society for the Academic Study of Religions, 6, pp. 60-83.