Formation of Unstable Coalitions

  • Farhad Gohardani
  • Zahra Tizro
Part of the Political Economy of Islam book series (PEoI)


The encounter with modernity has shattered the Iranian house of being (a fragile house of being reconstructed in the Safavid era out of the materials and resources of Persianism, Shia Islam, and Greek philosophy) and Iranians have been ever since plagued with the state of discursive homelessness (for the significance of the notions of home and ideal homes in the midst of social transformation, see Chapman 1999, and also Molavi 2002: 54). The formation of coalitions has been driven by the urgent need to form a set of collective wills and collective actions to construct a new house of being after the violent and disruptive arrival of modernity in the landscape of Iranian embeddedness (Sohrabi 2011; Foran 2005; Kurzman 2008).

The state of belatedness with its associated “now” consciousness calls for collective actions (Olson 1965; Medina 2007) to fill the development gap, which requires the formation of collective wills which itself requires the formation of stable coalitions to make institutional investments feasible and to start and finish tasks and projects of social change in areas such as birth control, vaccination, education, science and technology, health, security, diplomacy, gender relation, ethnicity, banking, inflation, employment, or economic growth. However, the state of inbetweenness with its associated tragedy of confusion and irreconcilable differences within and between various social assemblages (individuals and groups) would act as the condition of impossibility for the formation of stable coalitions. As such the composite state of belated inbetweenness leaves the Iranians incapable of fully and irreversibly committing themselves to the formulation and implementation of any project of social transformation. In a sense, the Iranians have frequently put into practice what Zizek (2008: xv) perceives as lack of full commitment in the realm of virtualized games on the internet:

“if the thing doesn’t work out, I can always leave!” If you reach an impasse, you can say: OK, I’m leaving the game, I’m stepping out! Let’s start again with another game!


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Farhad Gohardani
    • 1
  • Zahra Tizro
    • 2
  1. 1.Independent EconomistYorkUK
  2. 2.University of East London (UEL)LondonUK

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