, 160). The result, inevitably, was the migration to cities, especially to Tehran and the formation of shantytowns. 17 Newly arrived from the village, most of these individuals did not originally possess a high degree of agency and the ability to act in the social and political spheres. Yet, one could easily imagine that living in the vicinity of large urban areas would to some extent create this sense of being able to act upon their society and its politics. In short, the social forces that made the Revolution of 1979 in Iran possible, the urban lower-middle class, the working class, and significant segments of college students, had developed a sufficient sense of agency and subjectivity to desire change in their society and polity, but not at a level that would be necessary to act autonomously and, simultaneously, inter-subjectively to be conducive to liberal or social democratic outcomes. Revolutions that forcibly overthrow the state and implement deep social and political restructurings, I would argue, are not possible without significant segments of a population having acquired a sense of agency and subjectivity, the internalization of a sense that they are persons of some consequence and can have an impact on their political and social surroundings. Yet, as often happens, this sense of agency is rather at rudimentary levels, sufficient to engage in revolutionary and often violent acts, but not necessarily conducive to building of democratic institutions. Interestingly, however, this level of rudimentary subjectivity, or what I have called inchoate agency, is necessary for the development of inter-subjectivity, which could be conceptualized as a mature form of agency in which the actor is not only aware of her or his own subjectivity, but acknowledges the same for everyone else: a sine qua non for the development and preservation of democratic institutions. As it happened in Iran, this form of mature subjectivity, or inter-subjectivity in Habermas’ formulation, seems to have been formed as a result of hard experiences of the overarching and prolonged social upheavals related to the revolution and the total war that followed it. To be certain, the revolution and total war that took place between Iran and Iraq (1980–1988) were nothing short of devastating for Iran and its people. The material and human tolls of these experiences are well documented and there is no need to repeat them here. Yet, as it will be analyzed in the next section, the impact of these experiences on the development of the political discourse as well as the habitus of millions toward an inter-subjective ethos should be recognized. Islamic revolution and the republic As I have been trying to demonstrate, the factors analyzed above would shed light on the conditions that in the long term lead to the revolution of 1979 in Iran. Many scholars have discussed the more immediate causes of Iranian revolution, utilizing a number paradigms and perspectives. Some of these causes range from the sudden rise in the oil revenue in the
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- Fall '19
- The Land, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Reza Shah, Pahlavi dynasty