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The Magic of Discourse [Jaduye Goftar]

Mohammad Javad Qolamreza Kashi. The Magic of Discourse [Jaduye Goftar]. Tehran: Ayande Puyan (1379 [2000-2001]).

This book seeks to interpret the landslide victory of Mohammad Khatami on May 23,1997 with a discourse analysis approach . Kashi explains that before Khatami entered the electoral competition the electoral discourse was more or less focused on economic reform. Khatami, though, highlighted other political themes and changed the core of his campaign discourse from economic reform to reform in culture and politics, emphasizing democratic values. This discourse opened a new window toward the future  and criticized the status quo, and was more precise in terms of things that it negated rather than what it supported.

Religious values were present in Khatami’s discourse as they were in his rival’s, but for Khatami these values served the negating aspect of the discourse. He used religious values to criticize the status quo, not to preserve it. Nationalist values also had a powerful presence in Khatami’s discourse.

His discourse  also desacrified politics . While in the official discourse of the Islamic Republic of Iran, politics was a duty and was not any different from worshiping God, Khatami mixed the concept of politics with concepts such as competition .

To challenge Khatami’s discourse, his rival took a completely oppositional stance and reconstructed himself as the total opposite to Khatami’s discourse. He did not talk any more about economic reform but emphasized preserving the status quo, while alleging that Khatami endangered religious and societal values. This position made Khatami’s political themes central to the election and corroborated Khatami’s discourse and his claims about despotism and intolerance.