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Modified cultural elements to make them conducive to protest -Almost 90% of Iranians are Shi’I MuslimsoShi’ism was perceived by non-Muslims at the time as the more revolutionary branch of IslamMobilization centered around 40-day cycles in Islam; protest, 39 days of mourning for martyrs, protest on the 40thday, etc. starting in 1963 and ending in 1978•Political implications of the cultural practice were an outcome of the protest movement’s success, not a cause of it-In social movements, there are 2 distinct uses of culture:1.Using culture as a structure analogous to political-opportunity structures and organizational structures, which can be conducive to particular forms of protest mobilizationoPolitical demonstrations can grow out of cultural structures2.Protest movements construct new cultures as they go along-The Islamist movement drew upon preexisting rituals, but changed their meaning over the course of the revolutionoExample: 40-day protest cycles Other religious holidays were transformed into days of protest or strike as a means to reiterate discontentThe regime permitted demonstrations on Eid-e Fetr (end of Ramadan) in Sept 1978 →protests occurred around the country•Significant departure from past Eid rituals-Khomeini’s demands departed from previous demands of revolutionaries as well:1.Full deposition (no partial role) of the monarchy2.Concentration of ultimate Islamic authority in a single individualoThese were never obeyed unanimously-Focus on the theme of martyrdom oLed to Western perceptions of fanaticismMartyrdom was a last resort even for committed activists-Regime crackdown on “Black Friday” (Sept 8 1978) accounted for many martyrs-Shi’i Muslims could place personal life over communal duties, survival over martyrdomoReligion did not always encourage Iranians to participate in revolutionary activities, despite any cultural bases for the revolution itself.C. Kurzman, pp. 77-172
Kurzman: The Unthinkable Revolution in Iran; Pages 77-172Chapter 5; General Strike: Economic Explanations•Main Question: Did an economic downturn lead to the Islamic Revolution?