Socio-political change and development in Iran : Reza Sah and the Shi`i hierocracy
The thesis offers an analysis of the Reza Sah period in terms of the balance between religion and politics and their societal and institutional power, the discussion of which is located within a historical framework. The relationship between religion and politics and their related effect on the 'legitimacy' of the structure of domination are considered within Weber's tripartite typology of domination. Whilst acknowledging the overall implications of the feasibility of adopting a Weberian framework and criticisms concerning the lack of accuracy of Weber's study of Islam, the thesis proposes that it is nevertheless possible to use a Weberian perspective in the study of Iranian Shi'ism. The changes introduced in the period are examined through an analysis of institutional changes deemed necessary for the process of modernization and secularization. An adequate understanding of this period is proposed to be critically dependent upon an understanding of the nature of the secularization process in Iran. This thesis is therefore concerned with two interconnected themes, one theoretical and the other historical. The theoretical theme, namely, the nature of the secularization process, arguably forms the core of the thesis in terms of its applicability to the period under study. It is the centrality of the secularization process which necessitates the analysis of a subsidiary argument concerning the limitations arising from Western (including Weberian) understanding of secularization, in particular with regard to Iran during the stated period. The historical theme - the analysis of the events between 1921 and 1941 - is considered for its own importance as a period of structural and institutional change and as a testing ground for the secularization thesis.