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The Iranian MetaphysicalsExplorations in Science, Islam, and the Uncanny$
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Alireza Doostdar

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780691163772

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691163772.001.0001

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Suppress, Accommodate, Sublimate

Suppress, Accommodate, Sublimate

Chapter:
(p.101) Suppress, Accommodate, Sublimate
Source:
The Iranian Metaphysicals
Author(s):

Alireza Doostdar

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691163772.003.0012

As a figure of many imagined transgressions—of piety, civility, rationality, and good taste—the rammal inspires near-universal revulsion and condemnation. Since the late nineteenth century, rationalizing the unseen has in part meant suppressing the rammal through the combined forces of intellect, propaganda, and coercion. But as the preceding chapters have shown, this suppression has only partially succeeded. Shiʿi hesitations over the legitimacy of the occult and secularist uncertainties over superstition have combined to weaken the thrust of the discursive assaults against the rammal. In everyday encounters, moreover, some Iranians have been impelled to reconcile their rational disdain for the rammal-as-charlatan with the sense-data apparently pointing toward the presence of extraordinary powers. A meeting with a rammal can thus become the site for an uncanny return of a repressed “irrational,” wreaking havoc on the boundaries between true and false, reasonable and superstitious, genuine power and imposture....

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