Edited by Lyndon C.S. Way
[Journal of Language and Politics 18:4] 2019
► pp. 617–633
From religious performances to martial themes
Discourses of Shi’a musical eulogies, war and politics in Iran
This paper deconstructs how religious musical eulogies, as the most important discursive practices of Shi’a rituals (Ghaffari 2019), were used as “war songs” serving to construct the Iranian national identity during the 1980–1988 Iraq-Iran war. These musical practices (in)formed the wider ideological and persuasive rhetoric of Iranians. In this paper, I analyse the textual and musical features of the audio-recorded versions of ten well-known war songs. The Discourse-Historical Approach (Reisigl and Wodak 2016) is used to analyse the discursive strategies and persuasive rhetorical tools within the lyrics. I draw on Machin (2010), Machin and Richardson (2012) and van Leeuwen (1999) to analyse various features of voice and the modality of sounds. This paper concludes that, by reflecting the power of religious discourse in the non-religious and highly nationalistic occasion of war, Iranian war songs were inspired by the religious eulogies in encouraging the Iranian nation to attend the war fronts.