How Westernization Impact on Iran Culture Social Value Term Paper

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Middle East

BACKGROUND INFORMATION OF IRAN TRADITIONAL CULTURE.

HOW THEY ISOLATED FROM WESTERN CULTURE AND RESTRICTED

ABOUT WESTERNIZATION. WHAT DOES IRAN CLUTURE VALUE?

EVIDENCE OF WESTERN INFLUENCE

EXAMPLES-BLACK MARKET (DRUG, FOOD, CLOTHES, WEAPON) - RELIGION (CHRISTIAN)

EFFECTS ON IRAN CULTURE

CHANGING WOMEN'S ROLE

RELIGIOUS CONFLICTS (WESTERN VALUES ARE VIOLATED KORAN WHICH IS ISLAMIC LAWS) -MORDINIZATION PLEASE USE SEPECIFIC EXAMPLES TO SHOW CULTURAL IMPACT ON IRAN

WHAT CAN WE LEAN FROM LOOKING AT IRAN WESTERNIZATION?

HOW DOES SOCIETY CHANGE?

WHAT CAN INFER ABOUT WESTERNIZATION IN MIDDLE EAST?

Westernization in Iran

The purpose of this paper is to introduce, discuss, and analyze Iran and its modernization. Specifically it will discuss the impact of westernization on Iran's culture. It will look at the importance of Iran's westernization and what we can learn from it. Iran's westernization has made very big differences in the country. Westernization in Iran and other Middle Eastern countries is inevitable, but it is having a tremendous impact on the culture and society of the people.Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Term Paper on How Westernization Impact on Iran Culture Social Value Assignment

Iran has a very long and traditional culture based on thousands of years of history in the Middle East. It was the home of the Persian Empire, one of the most successful empires of early history, and it became one of the strongholds of Islam. There are two major religious sects in Iran, the Sunni and the Shiia (or Shi'i) Moslem. There are also a few other religions represented, such as Jews, Christians, and others. Moslem is the chief religion of the culture, and is a major aspect of the culture of the country. Traditional Islamic culture is male-dominated with women playing little role outside the home. In fact, one writer notes, "in reality, culture and religion are highly interrelated in Iran and have overlapping functions" (Salehi 24). Thus, traditional Iranian culture is steeped in traditional religious values, and it has taken great effort for this old-fashioned culture to come into the "modern" age. There is also much oppression in the culture, and people have to support the ruling powers or face consequences.

The country was isolated from western values for thousands of years, partly because of its location in the Middle East, and partly because the rulers of Iran wanted to keep their people isolated from values that they thought were "decadent" and wrong. However, there were many problems inside the country. The people were mostly uneducated. There was large unemployment. The rulers were corrupt, violent, and often cruel dictators. Large tribal bands were in charge of many areas of the country. For Iran to survive in the modern world, they had to change the culture and society, and so, the country was ripe for modernization.

Iranian culture values traditional values, and many Iranians do not want to modernize. Women are not supposed to wear makeup, and much modern rock and roll music is banned in Iran. Iranians value the family, education, caution in actions and deeds, and not using drugs (Mahmoodshahi). Unfortunately, westernization has changed many of these values, especially in young people, and the older culture of Iran fears that many of the traditional values are going to completely disappear as westernization continues.

There is quite a lot of evidence of western influence in Iran today, from the roads and highways to the many negative aspects of western culture, such as drugs and weapons. One reporter writes, "Iran has invested heavily in public works to solve the unemployment problem (25% or higher), and the roads reflect it: few potholes and smooth surfaces, though no shoulders" (Wawro). Another Iranian writer notes,

The struggle for cultural freedom has resulted in a unilateral and significant adaptation to western values. While this shift marks what has been popularly dubbed cultural imperialism, this new western force has done much good in a country that needs to redefine itself in order to muster up the courage necessary to break loose from a rigid value system imposed by the cadres (Mahmoodshahi).

However, all of western culture's influence has not been positive. While there are more educational opportunities, more modern roads, buildings, and communications, and even more western dress and thought, much of what is bad about western culture has also made its way into Iran, and this is what many traditional Muslims feared most. Another Iran expert notes, "Their conception of social progress was derived from what they assumed had made Europe so strong and prosperous. It was from this point-of-view that 'Westernization' was an acculturation not just to another form of social life, but supposedly to a superior one, carrying with it a progressive property as well" (Salehi 79). Modern Iranians are more interested in material things, such as televisions, microwaves, and cars. Many also have given up Muslim accepted dress for western clothes, and many Muslim women are demanding more rights, including the right to dress the way they want, rather than wearing the traditional veil and gown (the chador, rouposh, and head scarf) of Muslim women. Many young people who have received western education want a more democratic society that is not ruled by rich dictators who often take a lot of the government's money for themselves.

More Christian westerners have moved to Iran too, especially during the 1970s when oil production increased in Iran, and the Shah of Iran created many sweeping social changes. Initially, Christians were welcomed, but as the culture and cultural values began to change, more people did not want to see the Christians in Iran and influencing Iranian life.

Westernization has had quite an effect on Iranian culture already. It is becoming more modern, and valuing things that are important in western culture, such as money, clothing, large homes, and electronic gadgets. The culture was always split between rich and poor, but as the economy improved because of oil reserves, the rich became richer and the poor became even poorer.

Women's roles in Iran are changing, too. Modern Iranian women want to wear the latest fashions and makeup, give up the old religious clothing, and take part in government and business just like men do. One reporter wrote about Iranian women getting off an airplane in Europe and immediately changing their appearance to be more western. He wrote, "As they disembarked, the women stopped in the departure lounge to remove their hejab -- chador, rouposh, and head scarf -- and brazenly comb their hair before applying makeup and nail polish" (Wawro). Women are concerned about their appearance and fashion, but they also want to take an active role in government and business, and this is banned under Islamic law. In Islam, women are to remain in the home and not even talk to any men except their husbands or immediate family. They are supposed to remain covered from head to toe, too. Iranian women want more rights and more freedoms, and that goes directly against Muslim teachings. Some people accept a more modern role for women, but fundamentalist Muslim groups do not, and so women are still pulled in two different directions in Iran.

These problems with women's roles are just one area where western values do not mix with the teaching of the Koran or Islamic laws and rules. Other examples are drinking alcohol and using drugs, not praying to Mecca each day, and desiring material things over religious values. Many of the western influences undermine these traditional laws, and that is another reason that many Muslims are against western influence and see the United States and her people as an enemy to their beliefs and their values.

In conclusion, Iran's westernization shows what can happen to a society that has long traditions and values its culture. As it modernizes, many things about its' culture seem to disappear. Modern society in Iran is a blend of old tradition and modern conveniences. Sometimes they blend together, and sometimes they do… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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