Relationship between place identity and political action (Case study: The martyrs of the eight year old Holy Defense, Talesh County)

Document Type : Research Paper


1 1. Associate Professor of Political Geography, Faculty of Geographical Sciences, Kharazmi University, Tehran, Iran.

2 2. Master of Geography and Holy Defense, Faculty of Geographical Sciences, Kharazmi University, Tehran, Iran.

3 Faculty of Geographical Sciences, Kharazmi University, Tehran, Iran.




Geographical environment is a combination of objective-physical and mental-structural factors and elements that determines the direction of perception, action and character of individuals and residents. However, the spatial identity is a function of the spatial spaces and structures. Spatial identities stimulate the sense of different spatial dependencies that according to the political culture of its residents are the creators of different political actions. During periods, the interaction between the individual and the surrounding environment leads to the formation of identity and group-spatial dependency. The findings by studies also indicated that the mentioned identity and dependency leads to the emergence of spatial belonging and consequently spatial responsibility.This responsibility motivates residents to support the interests and gains of their country.The similarity of identity among the inhabitants of a geographical area that distinguishes them from other identities is as same as the differential sensitivities, responsibilities, and political and social actions.

Iran is a country that has embraced the geographical and cultural diversity over time due to its geographical position. Although the origins of Iranian culture have a long history but the entering of the words with national suffixes (national gains, national security, etc.) came back to the emergence of the national government in the country, which is approximately hundred years ago. During this period, there has been strive to strengthen the national solidarity and territorial integrity in the development plans. Political systems have tried to maintain the consistency of the Iranian nation-state by emphasizing the pervasive elements of national integrity. However, Shia as the religion of most Iranians is one of the most fundamental elements of the integrity in Iran. Few events have a national nature and are not related to this religion. Accordingly, the system of the Islamic Republic of Iran, which is based on the Shia‘s instruction, has a high identity’s similarity with the most Iranian.

The city of Talesh, located in northwestern Gilan is culturally divided into two religious groups (Shia-Sunni) and two languages class (Taleshi-Azari). The studied data showed that at least after the revolution, the followers of the Shia were more contributed in the management of this city. The eight-year Iran-Iraq war, as a national event, showed that the Shia has the highest contribution in the war. This means that despite the fact that the Shia are in the minority but most of the martyrs are belong them. The hypothesis of the study is that the spatial identities arising from the religious belonging of Shia in Talesh city is due to integrity with the macro-national identity and political system of the Islamic Republic of Iran. This played an effective role in motivating them to participate more in the eight-year war so that they have 30% of the population of the city while more than 60% of the martyrs related to them.


The required data of research with descriptive-analytical nature has been collected by library method, means referring to the documents, books, articles, bulletins etc.

Results and discussion

The inputs of present study indicated that Shiism as religion of most Iranians had effective role in the national convergence. This sect at least within the recent hundred years was significantly effective on directing the deep social occurrences and national and international developments of country. IR Iran regime that is arising from interpretation of Shiite doctrines as Supreme Leader is somehow connected with the national and local affiliations of most of Iranian nation, and has consistency with the beliefs and religion of majority. In the meanwhile, the 8-year imposed war period no longer than two years after revolution is the most excellent manifestation of this national convergence that had an unexampled efficiency in appreciation of national solidarity and territorial coherence.The said attachment and consistency was very effective on provoking the sense of responsibility for defending the country and new-founded political system of IR Iran. The events related to 8-year sacred defense are evidence for their maximum participation. The same identities and characteristics may be diminished from national scale to subnational scale in Talesh County; meaning that although the Shiite citizens are not maximum population but due to identity similarity in sect with the maximum nation and political system had the most role and participation in accompaniment of majority and ruling political system. On the basis of such identity, the available data indicates that at least 60% of martyrs in this county have Shiite religion, and are majorly from Shiite zones or dispatched from organizations arising from revolution (Basij and Sepah). Hence, the hypothesis of present paper “local identities arising from religious affiliations of Shiite citizens of Talesh County due to convergence with the macro national identity and new-founded political regime of IR Iran had considerable effect on their provocation for more extensive presence in the 8-year imposed war”, is emphasized.


Identity consists of IDs that expresses the individual or object from viewpoint of belonging to group or type. The first characteristic of identity is its difference with the others. Whatever the identifying factors and fields of society have more convergence, the society will have more stability and constancy. The location and common settlement are deemed as national linking factors that through which the political systems attempt to underlay for national solidarity and territorial coherence by connection between various identities. In Fact local identity provokes the sense of local belonging and attachment that stimulates the sense of responsibility in the inhabitants of the same identity. The political systems on the basis of the same comprehensive identity elements in national scale attempted to strengthen the national solidarity and territorial coherence. Various elements have formed the Iranian identity; in the meanwhile, religion of Islam as Shiism has been one of the most comprehensive linking factors so that within recent hundred years, less event has been occurred in the national scale that not affected by the Shiite doctrines. The 8-year imposed war is one of manifestations of this status that due to IR Iran’s inspiring by Shiite doctrines, most of Shia residing zones have accompanied it; but in the Sunni residing zones due to the identity distinction, it was associated with fluctuation.


Main Subjects

Articles in Press, Accepted Manuscript
Available Online from 12 August 2023
  • Receive Date: 01 September 2020
  • Revise Date: 23 February 2023
  • Accept Date: 12 August 2023