Chaotic Order

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


This chapter explores how the three stages of tragedy of confusion, formation of unstable coalitions, and institutional failures inevitably tend to lead to the emergence of a chaotic order in the last 200 years of the Iranian modern history. Chaos almost invariably follows confusion. The experience of discontent and disillusionment emanating from living within dysfunctional and deformed institutions (reminiscent of Ibrahim Beig’s ‘disturbance evaluation’) endemic to the interplay between the state of inbetweenness and the state of belatedness culminates in the emergence of large and small social movements and revolutions leading to the collapse of the old order. The collapse of the incumbent regime of truth with its associated project and subprojects of social transformation and its affiliated shades of voices leads to the emergence of a spring of freedom where all the marginalized regimes of truth and their associated projects/subprojects and voices erupt into the social space, producing multitude of groups, societies, and associations. The irreconcilable differences between and within alternative forces, voices, and faces culminate in the emergence of state of chaotic civil strife where the social order converges to the state of total disorder and collapse. The sweet taste of freedom turns into the bitter experiences of quasi civil war, anarchy, and chaos, which calls for the emergence of new saviour and new final arbiter (Iranian leviathan) (see Katouzian 2004: 18; 2010: 5, on the fluctuation between the politics of chaos and politics of stability in the history of Iran). This turbulent spiral process is best captured by Mirza Malkam Khan’s (1891: 239–240) observation in his London speech:

each reform movement ends in revolution, each revolution ends in blood; and after the storm, the waters subside into the same sluggish calm, and there is just as little security of life and property, as little justice and freedom as before.


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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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