Conclusions: Genealogy of Violence—Sovereign Domination and Armed Resistance in Rojhelat

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


This chapter concludes the narrative of the ‘Forgotten Years’ drawing on the analyses provided in the preceding sections. It begins with an analysis of the formation and the modality of the development of nationalism, focusing on the intersection of sovereign domination and Kurdish resistance in Rojhelat. It argues that the shift in the locus of the nationalist movement from the Kurdish community in Rojhelat to Iraqi Kurdistan, and hence the formation of exilic nationalism defining the political form of Kurdish resistance to sovereign domination during these years, was a consequence of the change in the rationality of political power. This change was signified by the technologies of surveillance, control and domination culminating in the creation of the SAVAK, a modern centralised apparatus of state security, in 1957. The analysis further attempts a genealogy of the violence in the nexus of the dialectics of domination and resistance in Rojhelat. Although the suppression of Kurdish identity and the denial of civil and democratic rights and liberties were rooted in the political and legal processes and practices of the modern nation-state in Iran, it is argued, the range and efficacy of sovereign violence depended on the existence of specific conditions within the Kurdish community. To be more precise, the capacity of sovereign violence to establish and secure domination over the Kurdish community depended on the persistence of the pre-capitalist forces and relations in the Kurdish community. The articulation of sovereign power and the local networks of power and influence suppressed the development of civil society in the Kurdish community in Rojhelat before the 1979 revolution. In this sense, therefore, the genealogy of sovereign violence in Rojhelat is also at the same time the genealogy of the historical backwardness of the Kurdish community in Rojhelat. This argument is then used to assess the theoretical status and validity of critical approaches to armed resistance to sovereign domination in Rojhelat, informed by liberal-constitutionalist and humanist-subjectivist critiques of violence.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Abbas Vali
    • 1
  1. 1.LondonUK

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