Iranian Folklore, Proverbs and Aspiration for Development

Document Type: Research Paper

Authors

1 Ph.D. Student of Sociology, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran

2 Associate Professor of Sociology, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran

3 Professor of Sociology, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran

Abstract

Social scientists strongly believe that cultural norms and values shape, stimulate, direct, and influence all activities of human societies. This study attempts to provide a sociological analysis of cultural components, in particular the content of the proverbs included in Dehkhoda's Amsal va Hekam (Proverbs and Parables) and their role in Iran's underdevelopment. This book was chosen because it is by far the most comprehensive book in this regard with more than fifty thousand proverbs. Through a content analysis of all these proverbs using the qualitative content analysis approach, the researcher concluded that 2510 proverbs were related to development, of which 894 proverbs (35%) conveyed development-consistent concepts and 1616 others (65%) conveyed anti-development concepts. In addition, using the field study method and interviews with 40 people with relatively good knowledge of proverbs, it was shown that 276 proverbs contained development-related concepts, of which 64 proverbs (23%) conveyed development-consistent and 212 others (77%) conveyed anti-development concepts. It was concluded that a considerable number of the proverbs conveyed concepts such as fatalism, a lack of innovativeness, death, misogyny, contentment, and so on. Obviously, such a culture in the community leads to passivity of its members. Given the unquestionable role of cultural factors in human activities and that of cultural components such as proverbs in Iran's underdevelopment process, cultural planners need to pay more attention to these factors and provide appropriate solutions to reduce the negative effects of the development-impeding proverbs as well as other similar cultural components in society.

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