Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Political Science


Michael Stein




The advent of the Iranian revolution has provided social scientists with another example of rapid social transformation. An important feature of the revolution was the role of the clergy in leading the successful revolution against the apparently stable regime of the Shah, and in establishing an Islamic Republic in Iran. Most theories of revolution fail to address the role of culture in social processes. In his book, Revolution and the Transformation of Societies, S.N. Eisenstadt makes culture into a usable variable. Eisenstadt's five categories provide a schema to analyze the international, political, economic, social and cultural factors which contributed to the Shah's downfall, as well as the outcome of the revolution. The clergy emerge as a disembedded elite motivated by both symbolic and material interests. They led a revolutionary movement which demanded social and political reforms while asserting their Islamic identity.

McMaster University Library

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