Award Date

8-2010

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Political Science

Department

Political Science

First Committee Member

Mehran Tamadonfar, Chair

Second Committee Member

Dennis Pirages

Third Committee Member

Kenneth Fernandez

Graduate Faculty Representative

Nasser Daneshvary

Number of Pages

127

Abstract

The current challenges to the authority of the Islamic Republic and mass demonstrations in opposition to the presidential elections of 2009 in Iran, have raised the specter of another revolution in the country. In the 20th century, the country underwent two major revolutions: the Constitutional revolution during the first decade of the century and the Islamic revolution in the late 1970s. In this thesis, I will examine why revolutions occur in Iran with greater frequency than other societies. By relying on a historiography and contemporary empirical evidence, I will explore the cultural underpinnings of the Iranian revolutionary worldview embedded in its long history of monarchism, combined with the Shi’a sense of political activism tied to a cultural sense of justice, fairness, and rejection of oppression.

To many, the question is not whether or not Iran will experience another revolution. It is rather when that transformation will occur. In this thesis, I will argue that mass mobilization, especially in response to political opposition to injustice, is a common cultural feature of Iranians. Thus, one may very well expect that the current public reactions to the regime will most likely result in another revolution, marking the end of the Islamic republic in light of its repressive policies.

This study, in contrast to earlier examinations of political transformation in Iran, is largely focused on the cultural explanations rather than institutional and external dynamics. It will, hopefully, provide an insight into the dynamics of change in undemocratic developing systems in search of indigenous models of development.

Keywords

CCulture; Iran; Islam; Legitimacy of governments; Mass mobilization; Politics; Practical; Politics; Protest movements; Revolutions

Disciplines

International Relations | Islamic World and Near East History | Political Science

Language

English


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