The Spatial Discourses in Naghsh-e-Jahan Square in Isfahan; A Foucauldian View

Document Type : Original Paper


Department of Architecture, Ayatollah Boroujerdi University, Boroujerd, Lorestan, Iran



Understanding how discourse is spatialized needs a conceptual ground for the discussion, and this study believes that the Foucauldian view is the right one. With a non-cartesian attitude, Michel Foucault considered the body as space and used archaeological and genealogical analysis to study its productive conditions. In his archaeological study, Foucault sought to analyze changes in knowledge or discourse through historical periods. In the genealogical one, he revealed discourse emergence conditions via mechanisms of power. Taking Foucault's epistemic framework, power and knowledge have a mutual relationship, and spaces represent power/knowledge. This paper explores spatial discourses in Naghsh-e-Jahan Square of Isfahan (1591-1941 A.D.) as the last public-government square from the Safavid era. Ultimately, the spatial discourses of the Naghsh-e-Jahan square can be traced by techniques of domination in different periods of history; the discourse of Islamization through sovereign power in the Safavid era, the discourse of modernization through disciplinary power in the Ghajar era, and the modernization, civilization, and nationalism through disciplinary power and biopower in the late Ghajar era and during the first Pahlavi era.


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