Conflict of Orders; Interaction and Relations of Normative Orders in Iran >> Link

This is the abstract of my presentation in the conference on:

"Conflicts, Conflict Resolution and Natural Resources in the Middle East", Tehran, Iran, 06.12.2006.


Dispute is a culturally-determined phenomenon. Different cultural settings manufacture different disputes and correspondingly introduce different procedures and responses for their settlement. A legal system to be effective and efficient has no way but to notice to its cultural and social setting and keep up with it.

In Iran since Pahlavi’s rein, building a state legal mechanism for addressing different grievances in society has been a strong wish of governors.

However, modern legislations and central bureaucratic adjudication, to be effective, has to guide the individual conducts and recognise their conceived grievances. Regarding to the traditional and popular ways of redressing of grievances in Iran, besides the emergent social norms and values, it is not an easy task to govern all sorts of grievances under unique modern or Islamic law, regardless to what is happening in reality. Especially, in a society that is culturally various and increasingly, its norms and values are defined by different sources.

Anyway, both contemporary political regimes in Iran; kingship and Islamic state have been reluctant to accept the social realities in Iran.

Modernist regime of Pahlavi was ignorant to Iran’s popular culture upon which dispute form, is perceived and settled. It strived to modernize society through modern rules of conduct and justice. And after Islamic revolution though laws, especially criminal laws, were islamicized, wish for central, bureaucratic mechanism of adjudication remain to lead new policy makers. Unlike the former regime Islamic state has little tendency to modern legal rules and procedures. Nevertheless, the ideological zeal of policymakers in Iran after revolution prevents them to have true understanding of social facts and changes. Therefore, though new generation has come to perceive some behaviour as grievance that needs judicial intervention, there is no proper rule and procedure to address them.

The main concern of this study is that how much state legal system has been successful in redressing people’s grievances in Iran. To this aim, it tries to study and examine the relationship between different normative orders within state legal order and the interaction of state legal orders with non-state legal orders, in law and practice.

This paper will focus on some emergent conceptions of grievance like family violence and the judicial reaction to these grievances. It concludes that judiciary power to build and maintain its legitimacy and public trust has to recognize some informal and public perception of grievances or at least open the doors of negotiation and discussion before the emergent social groups. To be participative dose not merely mean to invent new institutions, rather means to accept and admit some other understanding of right and wrong in society.

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