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Journal of Pedagogy, Pluralism and Practice

Publication Date

Fall 2013

Abstract

Today out of the seventy million population of Iran nearly twenty-five million are Turkish speakers. At least two thirds of this population lives in the provinces of East-West Azerbaijan, Ardabil, and the rest in and around the cities of Zanjan, Qazvin, Karaj and Tehran. Generally, the people in these areas refer to themselves as Turks, and they are Shia’ Muslims. This paper explores from an anthropological and ethnographic perspective the relationship of Azeri-Turkish speaking and Persian-speaking Iranians in the present and everyday spheres of social life. The objective is for a fine grained examination of this minority-majority encounter and what underlies the construction of a Turkish, Azeri and Azerbaijani identity in Iran. It is argued that the nature and the quality of Turkish and Persian speakers interaction have important bearing on how a minority population formulates a sense of self and based on it behaves socially, politically and nationally. The dynamics of identity construction is probed with reference to cultural sensibilities, language and boundary crossings that give reality and meaning to the historical affinity and national covenant in Iran.

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