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Iran's Islamic Revolution in Comparative Perspective

Said Amir Arjomand
World Politics
Vol. 38, No. 3 (Apr., 1986), pp. 383-414
DOI: 10.2307/2010199
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2010199
Page Count: 32
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Iran's Islamic Revolution in Comparative Perspective
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Abstract

The Islamic Revolution in Iran is analyzed as the latest of the "great revolutions" in a comparative perspective ranging from the early modern European revolutions to fascism. The analysis highlights the neglected importance of reactive elements, communal solidarities, and tradition in a wide variety of revolutions and revolutionary movements. Comparative inferences bring out the serious deficiency of the Marxian theory of revolution as well as of those structural theories of revolution that focus exclusively on the state. By contrast, these inferences underline the significance of ideology, religion, and culture. Finally it is argued that the emergence of a distinct Islamic revolutionary ideology can only be understood as part of the process of crystallization of revolutionary ideology in Western Europe and its spread to the rest of the world.

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