Explaining the Role of Cultural Geography in the Formation of Geopolitical Identity: A Case Study of Iranian Azerbaijan

Document Type : Original Article


Department of Geography, Faculty of Humanities, Maragheh University, Maragheh, Iran


Extended Abstract
Iranian society is comprised of a multicultural geography in which around 50 percent of citizens are not from the dominant cultural geography, that is, from Persian-speaking cultural territory. Most of the cultural sub-territories in Iranian society are ethnic groups whose population is more concentrated in the border regions of Iran, and these cultural groups have a large geographical-cultural affiliation and unity with large numbers of similar ethnic groups in neighboring areas abroad. However, the cultural geography of Azerbaijan is very different. This cultural territory, unlike other cultural territories in Iran, is geographically and demographically the largest cultural and ethnic geography in Iran. Among the various Iranian cultural-ethnic groups, the Azerbaijani group is the only ethnic and cultural group that is almost entirely Shiite. However, this cultural group differs markedly from the Iranian cultural complex in terms of ethnic-linguistic characteristics. These features, the geographical-cultural unity and demographic and ethnic-linguistic homogeneity of Azerbaijan with geography beyond the political and national borders of Iran, the influence of this cultural group throughout history, and the process of being informed by globalization from the external cultural values and homogeneous identities make this cultural sub-territory express their identity, their ontological, cultural affiliations and attachments as well as original and native geographical symbols. At the same time, they show adhering, dependency, attachment and sense of belonging to all Iranian cultural values and identity with a local approach.
Therefore, according to the topics listed, in this study, using the descriptive-analytical method, the role of cultural geography of Azerbaijan in the creation of this geopolitical identity in Azerbaijan (iconography and circulation) is investigated.
This study has tried to analyze the role of cultural geography of Azerbaijan in the creation of this geopolitical identity in Iranian Azerbaijan, employing a descriptive-analytical method and with the help of library information, theoretical and case analysis.
Results and Discussion
In geo-political terms, Azerbaijan’s cultural geography with its various cultural characteristics plays an important role in identifying the Iranian Azerbaijani community and its socio-political organization (that is, iconography and circulation).
In fact, Azerbaijan’s cultural geography (both religious and ethnic-linguistic) as a solid cement creating geographical-social integration brings Azerbaijan’s human community closer and reinforces the sense of social responsibility, physical and functional integration and unity of Azerbaijan’s cultural-human geography in Iran. This geographical-social mechanism and the Azerbaijani iconography occur in two different ways: religious iconography with the Iranian cultural-human community and ethnic-linguistic iconography with the cultural-human community outside the border. Therefore, in Iranian Azerbaijan, the result of this mechanism in the emergence of socio-cultural self-awareness, sense of geo-cultural belonging, sense of identity and collective spirit appears simultaneously in relation to two different cultural-human societies which has emotional and psychological consequences in geo-political terms. Also, the cultural geography of Azerbaijan in Iran plays a powerful separating role, while creating integrity. Even this movement of geo-cultural circulation like Azerbaijani iconography appears in two different ways. In other words, on the one hand, the homogeneous religious characteristic (Shiite identity) of Azerbaijan’s cultural geography with Iranian cultural geography leads its to separation and its distinctive geo-cultural authenticity and originality to the depth of ethnic-linguistic cultural geography outside the political borders of Iran and, on the other hand, the homogeneous ethnic-linguistic characteristics of Azerbaijan (Azerbaijani ethnic-linguistic identity) with its homogeneous cultural geography outside the political borders of Iran lead it to express ethnic-linguistic identity, the ethnic-linguistic separation of Iranian cultural geography and strengthening the sense of cultural belonging outside the political borders of Iran.
Azerbaijan’s cultural geography in Iran refers to the cultural-historical territory of Azerbaijan, which represents a distinct cultural community with ethnic-linguistic-religious characteristics, and thus cultural identity behaviors and specific interaction patterns in Azerbaijani geography towards the Iranian cultural complex. Therefore, it can be said that the sense of cultural-geographical belonging in Iranian Azerbaijani society has been shaped in such a way that their geographical dependence and ties to the territory of Azerbaijan and Iran can not be separated from an emotional and psychological point of view. In other words, Iranian Azerbaijani community has a special geographical-cultural sense to Azerbaijan geography, and this sense of belonging in the form of a powerful Iconography and Circulation reinforces his loyalty to the local geographical-cultural values and moves it on the path of preserving and consolidating Azerbaijani identity. However, this sense of belonging does not imply a sense of alienation from the Iranian set. Thus, ontologically, there is also a wide sense of historical-spiritual belonging to the Iranian territory (historical geography) in the Iranian Azerbaijani community, which can easily be observed in the depth and extent of its Iconography and Circulation in historical-political integration, sacrifice and loyalty, the extent of socio-political participation, national pride, human integrity and unity, and many other features of the socio-national and political culture of the Azerbaijani community in the territory of Iran and on the path of geo-cultural commitment to Iranian identity and Iranian pride


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