Ideology and the Iranian Revolution
39 Pages Posted: 6 Feb 2012 Last revised: 28 May 2012
Date Written: January 27, 2012
Some theories deny the role of ideology in the making of revolutions, while others grant it an indispensable role. I investigate the role of ideology in the Iranian Revolution by contrasting the two periods of the Pahlavi regime that witnessed popular uprising: the early 1960s and the late 1970s. While the former uprising fizzled, the latter led to the Iranian Revolution. Applying the comparative method, I show that structural and non-agency process factors underwent the same changes in both periods and hence fail to explain the variation in outcomes. I propose instead that the change in the opposition's ideology accounts for this variation. I show that Khomeini's doctrine of the Islamic state provided a new alternative to the status quo that changed the Islamic opposition's goal from reforming the existing state to creating a new, Islamic state.
Keywords: Ideology, Islamic Political Thought, Revolutions, Social Movements, Iranian Revolution, Khomeini, Islamic State, The Guardianship of the Jurist, Qualitative Methods, Comparative Method, Necessary and Sufficient Conditions
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