October 18 in the frame of the Day of Spiritual Accord, at 14:00 (GMT + 6), Nur-Sultan (Kazakhstan) will host an International conference themed: "Strengthening interfaith and interethnic harmony as an answer to modern world challenges ".


Report by Mahdi Sanaei (Iran) Associate professor of Tehran University

Identities and modernization: difference in interaction methods          Identity and modernization are concepts  that  providing a proper definition  from them has been very  difficult, forever.

The Word  "identity  is derived from identitias, that have  meaning of  continuity and distinction  .although these two contrast  meanings seem that  focus on  two main  and complementary  aspects of identity , originally. Therefore,  identity can relate to  feeling  of continuity and linkage ,being unique and distinctive from others. [1] While  our investigation has another aspect and  this is modernization.  Idiom of " modern"  extracted from  a latin word " modo" and  it means  updating and  flowing  in  its main structure . idiom of Modernism  is symbol of thoughts and new methods that  replace  traditional thoughts and  methods and  process of doing it  in society  considered as  modernization . but for investigating interaction of   these two concepts ,we need a thing  more than  their mere definition or even  entering  some  pre-judgments. So, we  pay attention to  more realities from this concept before any thing.

      Identities are different and various. The meaning  and  understanding   that people have from themselves in group, is origin of making social identity (social means impersonal and  collective  unless  identities all are social) . social identity interpreted as national identity by considering  political  arena and  means  undertaking  and  dependence feeling  of  society people  to  cultural mysteries and signs including norms, values, language, religion, literature , history and material objects that  is origin of material integration and  coherence.[1] Up to here, a few  variety of identities ,we have considered them  and  while   we have to  pay attention to this point  that  humans are not follower of an unique identity  but they are dependent  on various  identities. A person can  have coincidentally  national identity,  religious identity,  tribal identity , class identity , and  special political  one  and  there is  no  contradiction  among  identities. These identities ,in one hand, emerge based on making  linkage  among  themselves and  social forms and  it is a  social  thing  in this regard  and  in another hand, they are relative  and   undergo changes during the time  . as a result,  against  primary imaginations ,identities not only does not  remain  fix and intact  ,but  they are changing  and rebuilding.  This   identity change   occurs,historically.  One of the nation's specifications  is having     identity and   historical continuity of this identity. In one hand, shaping collective  identities  such as  national identity  provided that existence a collective memorial  that  through it ,the group recognizes  its  background  and  interprets  it. model of Carl Dowich  about  role of memorial in social and ,historical systems  indicates  role of this factor in continuity of  collective  identities.[2] in fact, national identity made from constructiristic  narrations .in today world, despite processes like Globalization and restricting role of  governments  in international relations, importance of  national  identity is not decreasing  and   reality of nation-government could not discard from  internal political equations of countries .[3]  it can be used from  ethno-symbolism  to explain  phenomenon of  nation and  national identity.[4]  According to  the former  view  , nation evolution  has basical importance  in arranging  symbols and values of  a society and   considering  the past could not  be ignored  for  change  of time.  This process  begins from   a  primary tribal core , during long  years   this primary tribal core develops  and  turns  into an integrated identity,  gradually and  in a  social entity , defines boundary  with its  surrounding environment .of course,  national identity  can shape to some extent   from     education,  propagation and  similar ways  ,then it is established. But  the important point  is that even  if  we obtain  identity by itself and through  shaping  process, many obstacles can be considered  in this process .  the given challenge  mostly  devided into two parts: previous  challenges and next challenges . the former   in process of making a social identity is due to  making nation process. In this situation , for  entering tribal case to  nation one  and  making  national identity , making  nation emerges. However,  after entering   situation of  being nation  and   building  new national identity ,  a new challenge emerges  that is due to  two processes of  modernization and  globalization.  Although  from definitions,  these challenges   follow each other  , in fact , this is a  contradictory situation ; so that at present ,some society experience two challenges  ,coincidentally.   For example, story of being  Iranian  has  much fullness  but  small  and  new –found countries try to make  such story  and self-awareness  among their subjects  through  propagation and artificial  things as much as possible; though   locating  these imaginations and deposition of  it in general  culture and thoughts is fairly difficult.[5]

since  this   except need for time to institutionalizing  due to  interference with  modernization process ,has a doubled  challenge in these societies.  In this time,  modernization and  its consequences like  globalization , media ,emigration , business and  consumption  can change  various identities of a society from  primary form by effecting on  them.  But  its effect on any of the  kinds of identity  is different  and even  these  identities  may   appear  different reactions in various conditions .for instance, it may  that national identity  sustains more than local identities against modernization and or its consequences. however, it may  that as per  pressure that  is on smaller identities ( by considering  problem   of minorities and so on) ,these  identities show more resistance. So, the modernization can not destroy  identity as regarded ; but even it might that it improves it.  In fact , it  is a prejudgment   in question  at the beginning of this paper . a part of  these problems  are due  to  that  identity  as a fix element  and not dynamic is considered .sometimes  even made factors   of some  kind of  identity such as  religion mix with identity.  As well as  in cases  what is  supposed as identity  and is changing , are traditions. The  missing  link  in this investigation is globalization. Gidanz  point outs   global connction and  increasing social relations as a consequence of modernity in defining  globalization.  Globalization  ,in fact  means linkage  of social events and social relations of the  far territories  with  local  or native  context  of other  societies[6] and  this can  be effective in expressing  modernization relation and  identities.  really, except for  effort for keeping  existence of an identity  in primary position  of that identity  through  education methods and similar cases,  it should be noted to  globalization function and  possibility of  developing  given identity through this way.  In this  order,  it may be said that  any  of identities in different conditions, shows  various  reactions  to  modernization and its consequences and,therefore there is a kind of difference in methods of interaction .



[1]. The gale encyclopedia of psychology, 2001, 322.

[2]Taghi Azad Armaki, Iranian culture and identity and globalization, Tehran, Iranian civilization publications, 2007, p133

[3]. Karl deutsch, nerves of government, newyork: free press, 1996,p.85-86

[4]. M. Guibernau, Globalization and Nation-state, In Understanding Nationalism, eds. M. Guibernau and J, Hutchinson, Cambridge, Polity Press, 2001, p. 243.

[5]. Jahangir Moeeni Alamdari, identity, history and narration in Iran, in book (Iran, identity, nationality, being tribe), Hamid Ahmadi, Institue of development and researches of Arts, 2004,P48.

[6]. The same , P 48

[7]. Modernity and Self-Identity: Self and Society in the Late Modern Age, Antony Giddens, Stanford University press, Stanford, California, 1991. p 21- 22.