Double-Thinking and Contradictory Arrangements in Iranian Law and Society

Digest of Middle East Studies, Forthcoming

31 Pages Posted: 13 Feb 2018

See all articles by Reza Banakar

Reza Banakar

Lund University - Sociology of Law

Date Written: January 31, 2018


Although thinking double thoughts and living dual lives are not specifically Iranian traits, Iranians have nevertheless become more susceptible to them for historical reasons, which may be traced back to when Persians became Muslims. The gradual normalization of double-thinking over the centuries has given rise to social and political patterns of behavior and institutional arrangements which oscillate between opposing regimes of truths and different sets of ethical concerns, often without merging them into a new process. Once double-thinking is normalized at the level of society, it helps people to cope with the cognitive dissonance they experience in circumstances where it is difficult to change attitude and behavior. It also affects the organization of society by making contradictory arrangements appear normal. It promotes reflexive thinking and subversive action as much as it facilitates misrecognition of socio-political suppression and legitimization of symbolic violence. This state of affairs generates a form of modernity which appears, at least on the surface, to be comfortable with contradictory social arrangements, while deep down it remains ill at ease with its inner contradictions.

Keywords: Iran, Shia'h Islam, Shari’a, Double-Thinking, Cognitive Dissonance, Secularism, Maslahat-e Nezam, Legal System, Legitimacy, Constitution

JEL Classification: Z00, K49, K19, K29

Suggested Citation

Banakar, Reza, Double-Thinking and Contradictory Arrangements in Iranian Law and Society (January 31, 2018). Digest of Middle East Studies, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN:

Reza Banakar (Contact Author)

Lund University - Sociology of Law ( email )

0046 + 46 222 8753 (Phone)


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