The Tale of Two 1001-Night Cities—An Actor-Network View on the Role of Social Structures and the Motives and Intentions of Agents in Spatial Development of the Medieval Bagdad and Isfahan

Arash Salek


This contribution analyses the urban identity and historical patterns of spatial development in ancient Baghdad and Isfahan, according to Actor Network Theory (ANT) and Actor-Relational Approach (ARA). In the case of two different historical urban hubs (Baghdad and Isfahan).

This article demonstrates how in the course of history, those interactions between various path-dependent networks have produced various, but specific types of urbanity in this region. It aims to show how ANT could clarify the embeddedness of dynamic actor-networks within the Middle Eastern urban spaces. This contribution argues that the institutional settings, customs, and use might even be more crucial for the issue of local identity, precisely because in effect they influence and shape urban living, institutions, form and infrastructures through time.

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