Introduction: Modernity and the Emergence of Popular Politics in Iranian Kurdistan (Rojhelat)

  • Abbas Vali
Part of the Minorities in West Asia and North Africa book series (MWANA)


This chapter focuses on the emergence of ‘the people’, the subject of popular politics in Rojhelat. The ascent of the people is traced to the specific social, political and cultural effects of a state-induced authoritarian modernisation on the Kurdish community, laying the ground for the formation of the modern nationalist movement culminating in the Kurdish Republic in 1946. The subject of modern Kurdish politics, it is thus argued, was a product of modern political and cultural processes and practices in a deeply traditional community structured by the pre-capitalist relations of production. The emergence of the people, it is further argued, signified a radical break with the traditional forms of Kurdish opposition to the state organised and led by tribal leadership before the formation of the modern nation-state in Iran. The subject of Kurdish politics evolved, changing form and direction, in the process of the nationalist struggle, defined by the conflict between sovereign power and the Kurdish community in the four decades separating the fall of the Kurdish Republic from the advent of the Iranian revolution in 1979.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Abbas Vali
    • 1
  1. 1.LondonUK

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