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Political Elite of Iran

Political Elite of Iran

MARVIN ZONIS
Copyright Date: 1971
Pages: 406
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt13x19mp
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  • Book Info
    Political Elite of Iran
    Book Description:

    In interviews with 170 politically active Iranians, the author reveals that politics in Iran are based on interpersonal relationships marked by insecurity, cynicism, and mistrust. He then assesses the significance of these characteristics for Iran's future development.

    Originally published in 1976.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-6880-3
    Subjects: Sociology, Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. PREFACE
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. xi-xi)
  4. TABLES
    (pp. xii-xv)
  5. FIGURES
    (pp. xvi-2)
  6. 1 INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 3-17)

    Iran has been called the oldest of the new nations, a distinction accurately reflecting not only its lengthy history and venerable culture, but also its impressive successes in avoiding the status of a European colony. In recent years, Iran has augmented this reputation as her remarkable political continuity has set the stage for rapid economic growth and social development.

    Iran’s ruling monarch, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, acceded to the throne in 1941 amidst foreign occupation, economic disintegration, and savage attacks on the twenty-year rule of his father, Reza Shah. Since those chaotic days, the present shah has made a series...

  7. 2 THE SHAHANSHAH OF IRAN AND THE COMPOSITION OF THE POLITICAL ELITE
    (pp. 18-38)

    His Imperial Majesty, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Shah of Shahs, Light of the Aryans, is, as his titles might indicate, the central figure in Iranian politics. Since coming to the throne in 1941, the shah has demonstrated a capacity for preserving his position all but unheard of among the nations of the developing world. Through foreign occupations and foreign-sponsored separatist states, internal uprisings, tribal challenges, assassination efforts, and thwarted militarycoups d’état,the shah has managed to husband his support, to experiment with new forms of control, and, ultimately, to expand his political power.

    Indeed, the entire reign of the shah,...

  8. 3 THE SHAHANSHAH OF IRAN AND THE COUNTERELITE
    (pp. 39-79)

    What hat of these potential counterelites who persist in their opposition formulations and refuse to repent, be seduced, or be co-opted? Counterelites who continue their political activities are ipso facto considered opposed to the present elite. Inasmuch as the structure of the elite is predicated on the notion of inclusivity, opposition to the elite is equated, by the regime, with opposition to the regime itself. And the regime, to the present, has refused to tolerate persons who, by its own definition, are in opposition to it. The result is that the active unassimilated or unassimilatable are subjected to continued pressure...

  9. 4 THE SHAHANSHAH OF IRAN AND THE ELITE
    (pp. 80-117)

    We have discussed the efforts that the shah makes to control demands for elite membership. By attempting to manage access to the resources that serve as the main power bases, he is able to regulate the numbers and types of persons who can present legitimate claims for inclusion into the political elite and, in turn, the types of demands that the elite will make of the political system. We have also noted the means he employs to deal with incorrigible elites who persist in making demands that he has defined as illegitimate. But how does he maneuver those who are...

  10. 5 A HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE ON THE ELITE NATURE OF IRANIAN SOCIETY
    (pp. 118-133)

    We have examined the central position of the shah in contemporary Iran. Although his particular style of rule sets the tone of politics in that country and establishes patterns of behavior that animate the political process, there are other important actors in that process. Before turning to their styles of behavior or “code,” we wish to describe the social and political milieu in which they and their monarch operate.

    The quotation that begins this chapter was no idle speculation, but accurately reflected both the nature of political organization in Persian society in the days of its author, Nizam ul-Mulk of...

  11. 6 AN ANALYSIS OF THE SOCIAL BACKGROUNDS OF THE CONTEMPORARY POLITICAL ELITE
    (pp. 134-198)

    The shah and his elite together elaborate the political process of Iran and, as a result, have disproportionately allocated the outputs of their political system in a mutually beneficial fashion. But who are these members of the elite? What are their social backgrounds? What distinctive characteristics identify them from their twenty-five million countrymen?

    The questionnaire with which the 167 members of the political elite were interviewed contained a vast array of items pertaining to social background. In addition, wherever possible, biographical data for the 140 members of the elite not so interviewed were collected.¹ By combining these data sources, the...

  12. 7 THE ORIENTATIONS OF THE POLITICAL ELITE, I
    (pp. 199-250)

    Members of the political elite, as we have seen, are drawn from a narrow segment of Iranian society, commandeer the highest formal and informal positions of power, and allocate the values of their society in a disproportionately elitist fashion. But the immediate significance of the elite for us lies elsewhere. Their behavior—what they do in the course of their daily rounds—constitutes the essence of politics in Iran. It is a major assumption of this study that the attitudes held by these individuals underlie and sustain their behavior. That is, the political elite of Iran will so behave as...

  13. 8 THE ORIENTATIONS OF THE POLITICAL ELITE, II
    (pp. 251-298)

    The attitudinal characteristic of cynicism that has been judged so harmful to the processes of social change is not unknown to students of developing societies.¹ In particular, it has frequently been ascribed to the peoples of the Middle East. Albert Hourani, for example, notes: “This crisis of the Arab mind today is clear. All around is a sea of nihilism: the cynicism of men cut off from their own past, deprived too long of responsibility for their own fate, tied too long to a decaying Empire, exposed too soon to the corruption of wealth and power.”²

    The issues implied by...

  14. 9 THE CONSEQUENCES OF ELITE ORIENTATIONS
    (pp. 299-329)

    The internal composition of the general character orientations has been examined and their antecedents have been analyzed. But of more immediate import is their relevance. That is, do these orientations of manifest insecurity, cynicism, mistrust, and exploitation affect the more narrowly defined political attitudes of the elite? If these orientations that we have described do not affect elite policy perspectives, then we can assume that they are interesting, but largely irrelevant to the nature of Iranian politics, insofar as those politics are directed or influenced by the elite. In fact, these general orientations are highly relevant.

    In order to examine...

  15. 10 THE COSTS OF POLITICS IN IRAN
    (pp. 330-342)

    Thomas Mann has argued that in our century, destiny works itself out in political terms. In order to assess the “working out” of “destiny” in Iran, we have turned to the political process of that country. For politics in Iran does present opportunities for the acquisition of those rewards that are available in Iran, rewards in the Weberian sense of class, status, and political power. Whereas these rewards are conventionally available from alternate areas of human endeavor in other societies, in Iran they emanate almost exclusively from the political process which thus becomes so much more central than other areas....

  16. APPENDIX I IDENTIFYING THE POLITICAL ELITE
    (pp. 345-352)
  17. APPENDIX II THE PHENOMENON OF NONRESPONSE AMONG THE POLITICAL ELITE
    (pp. 353-362)
  18. SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 363-384)
  19. INDEX
    (pp. 385-389)