Chapters (Layout Features)

Moral Refinement and Manhood in Persian

Kia, Mana

Under pressures of looming European imperialism, Iran’s declining economic, social and political position was seen as the result of collective moral degradation. Justice as rule of law was seen as a necessary prerequisite for the restoration of moral refinement that would restore Iran’s place in the hierarchy of civilizations. A central emotion in this figuring was shame, linking individual moral abasement to the abrogation of political sovereignty. By the close of the nineteenth century, with the rise of mass politics and moveable type printing that enlarged the public sphere, emphasis had shifted to the centrality of individual moral refinement for the establishment of justice. Older Persianate ideas of civility, of moral refinement as idealized masculinity, were linked to the restoration of civilization. This linkage was made by extending the inviolability of masculine honor to the body politic.

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Also Published In

Civilizing Emotions: Concepts in Nineteenth Century Asia and Europe
Oxford Scholarship Online

More About This Work

Academic Units
Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies
Published Here
December 22, 2020


Keywords: civility, civilization, Iran, justice, law, masculinity, morality , Persianate, emotions, shame