This book traces the transformation of Iran's social structure from the rise of the Safavid dynasty in 1501 to the dramatic social movements of the twentieth century. Rooted in the current debates in the sociology of development, the book offers a new assessment of the encounter of Iran with the West in light of a variety of social science theories including world systems, dependency, and political culture. John Foran presents a new synthesis of Iranian history, arguing that Iranian social structure is the historical product of both internal and external dynamics and that commercial, political, and military relations with the West shaped social arrangements in ways that activated a series of "populist" movements of resistance. He maintains that these movements have been only partially successful because they rested on fragile social bases and because foreign powers have continued to intervene in the country's affairs. Foran excels in making the 1979 Islamic Revolution intelligible in terms of Iran's history.
Table of Contents
Introduction -- A Framework for the Study of Social Change in Iran -- Social Structure and Social Change in Pre-Capitalist Iran, 1500–1800 -- The Iranian Social Formation, circa 1630 -- Social Change in Iran from 1500 to 1800 -- Conclusion to Part One The Significance of the Safavid Period and the Eighteenth Century -- Social Structure and Social Change in Qajar Iran, 1800–1925 -- Crossing the Threshold of Dependence: The Iranian Social Formation from 1800 to 1914 -- Reform, Rebellion, Revolution, Coup: Social Movements in Qajar Iran -- Conclusion to Part Two The Theoretical Significance of the Qajar Period -- Social Structure and Social Change in Pahlavi Iran and After, 1925–1991 -- State, Society, and Economy in the Reza Shah Period, 1925–1941: The Compression of Social Forces -- Democratization, Separatism, Nationalization, Coup: Social Movements from 1941 to 1953 -- The New Situation of Dependency: Dependent Capitalist Development under Muhammad Reza Pahlavi, 1953–1977 -- The Making of the Iranian Revolution and After, 1977–1991 -- Conclusions The History of Social Change in Iran: A Theoretical Reprise