Insurgency through Culture and Religion: The Islamic Revolution of Iran

Insurgency through Culture and Religion: The Islamic Revolution of Iran

Insurgency through Culture and Religion: The Islamic Revolution of Iran

Insurgency through Culture and Religion: The Islamic Revolution of Iran

Synopsis

"In his case study of the 1979 Islamic revolution, Salehi discusses the role of culture and religion in a modern society. The author examines Shi'ism as a vehicle of political activism and dissent and provides an insider's view of events leading to the 1979 Iranian revolution. . . . The author suggests that modernization theory and single-factor causes of revolution be examined in a holistic manner. . . . Salehi explains that this approach neither ignores nor discounts the significance of facts. The book provides an interesting perspective on the psychological undercurrents of life in an oppressive society. A rich source of information on the Islamic revolution." Choice

Excerpt

The purpose of our lives is never to cease the struggle.

We are like waves-- our calmness is in our fading away.

A slogan of Iranian college students in the 1970s

The 1978 political turbulence that put an end to the millennium-old monarchy in Iran has become known as the "Iranian Revolution." Officially, it is called the "Islamic Revolution," a notion emphasized by the new sovereigns and their loyal supporters in order to justify the rule of the Shiia clergymen and their Islamic principles.

The "Revolution" replaced the existing political order with a theocracy, a development incongruent with trends prevalent elsewhere in contemporary history wherever there has been a revolution. the incongruency is apparent not merely because a revolution had taken place, but because it had occurred under the leadership of a traditionalist Moslem clergy, who were striving to materialize their long term objective: the establishment of a theocracy.

In fact, it is surprising to note that until the early 1970s Iran was undergoing a transition toward a more secular society, with the role of religion diminishing in regard to political affairs. the outspoken revolutionary and reformist opposition forces were mainly secular in their orientation. Their domain of influence was expanding, making them a likely candidate to replace the existing regime. Then, in the 1970s, a renewed Shiia revitalization movement began. This movement gained momentum and penetrated almost every segment of the population. It conquered certain social territories that had been the stronghold of the former secular political groups. Simultaneously, it strengthened and expanded its influence among the lower classes and rural people.

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