Forming a future from the past
Realizing an everyday Islamic identity
in Development, architecture, and the formation of heritage in late twentieth-century Iran
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The search for a culturally appropriate housing model continued in the aftermath of the Islamic Revolution and was circumscribed by an intense ideological rhetoric of Islamism. This rhetoric was propped up with nostalgic references to an Islamic tradition and with the desire to assert an authentic identity and reimagine heritage. Beyond the revolutionary rhetoric, however, the practical solutions proposed for housing reveal a remarkable continuity with the pre-Revolution period, and in some instances, a direct link to Shushtar Now. This chapter refers to the earliest post-Revolution collection of public housing competitions conducted by the Ministry of Housing between June and November 1985 and published in 1989. It analyses some of the competition entries and refers to interviews conducted during fieldwork to examine the strands of pre- and post-Revolution continuity. This examination shows that the same traditional motifs that informed discourses of identity and authenticity before the Revolution continued to operate with more official force after 1979. The intention was clear: to produce an Islamic citizen through social engineering. This is apparent in the jury statements. For architects involved, however, pandering to such rhetoric was not always a matter of conviction, but at times, a practical survival mechanism.


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