The "Great Satan" vs. the "Mad Mullahs": How the United States and Iran Demonize Each Other

The "Great Satan" vs. the "Mad Mullahs": How the United States and Iran Demonize Each Other

The "Great Satan" vs. the "Mad Mullahs": How the United States and Iran Demonize Each Other

The "Great Satan" vs. the "Mad Mullahs": How the United States and Iran Demonize Each Other

Synopsis

Giving a thorough account of the background of U. S.-Iranian relations, Beeman claims that the current accusations of both Iran and the United States are baseless, consisting largely of public invective and symbolic rhetoric according to their own mythologies of evil.

Excerpt

This book is a work that has had a long gestation. As a linguistic anthropologist I have had a fascination with understanding the concrete effects of communication in face-to-face interaction. The idea that the dynamics of small-scale interaction might be applied to larger entities was reinforced by the work of several disparate scholars. The first was the great anthropologist Margaret Mead.

She had known the two great wars of the twentieth century—World War I as a child, and World War II as a fully established adult professional. With her strong emphasis on children and the family in her research before 1940, it is not surprising that she would come to focus on the ways that the societies of the world could work toward peace and safety for all. She hoped that a better world would emerge through the process of cultures learning from each other. Above all, Mead was a firm believer in the ability of all human entities to benefit from each other's cultural wisdom.

In this regard, she saw anthropologists as central and essential in this process, since it was uniquely the task of anthropology to make the knowledge of different cultures explicit to all. Mead viewed anthropology as both a pure science and an applied policy science. Although the academic goals of anthropology were to explicate the cultures of the world, compare them and continue to develop knowledge of the nature of humanity; it was also a sacred goal of anthropology to inform, advise, and persuade those who have the power to change the policies and actions of government for the betterment of humanity.

Mead had a particular interest in war and conflict. She authored more than sixty-five academic papers and countless more informal articles on this subject. She pointed out that the reason for war should be not simply "to bash somebody over the head but to build a better world." Thus, the focus for anthropologically informed policy needed to be not on war itself but . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.