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‘To be or not to be’ (like the West): modernisation in Russia and Iran

Having passed through a labyrinth of social contradictions, both Russia and Iran have reached a point on their historical timelines where they have transcended the logic of development of the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Today, Russian and Iranian modernisation reflects the interaction of universal norms and practices and specific cultural traditions. As an epistemological category, modernity can no longer be enchained in the grip of a totalising narrative. Modernity has given rise to civilisational patterns that share some core characteristics, but which unfold differently. The Russian and Iranian historical experiences reveal the need to take a much broader view of the modernisation process by placing it in the context of cultural adaptation of civilisational particularities to the challenge of modernity. The era of fixed, Euro-centric and non-reflexive modernity has reached its end, and we have, in practical terms, the emergence of ‘multiple modernities’.


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