The Process of Legitimation in the Islamic Republic’s System

Document Type : Research Paper



The consistency of consolidated legitimacy with the continued power constitutes the basic presumption of security in modern states, and the rulers in the today’s world need the trust and popularity on part of the ruled. This correspondence is not of less importance in the Islamic Republic when compared to other regimes, because its focal point has not shifted from the inside to the outside yet. Hence, this article seeks to present a narrative of the process of legitimation within a strategic context, using a discoursive method. On this basis, discoursive change in the Islamic Republic’s legitimacy has formulated three main discourses on legitimation as follows: essential discourse, instrumental discourse, and procedural discourse. The analytical narrative of this article is founded upon the process of change in such discourses according to the articulation of such criteria as the degree of recurrence, limits of discursive shift, statement discipline, and the methods of rejection which in sum lead the author to the hypothesis that the current situation represents the end of legitimiation in the Islamic Republic’s system. In other words, having passed the stage of establishing legitimiation, the Islamic Republic of Iran has entered the phase of meta-legitimiation. The parameters providing the contingency of discourses in the new age include linkage character, the priority of utterances, and the recurrence of interpreted discourses. The inability to understand this level of discoursive shift and adapting to it results in the crisis and disruption of the state’s adaptive function. Moreover, empowerment in this area will promote the degree of recurrence and the level of discipline of legitimizing statements.


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