Understanding Revolution: A Multi-Paradigmatic Approach [1st ed.] 9783030475901, 9783030475918

This book applies a multiparadigmatic philosophical frame of analysis to the topic of social revolution. Crossing two di

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Understanding Revolution: A Multi-Paradigmatic Approach [1st ed.]
 9783030475901, 9783030475918

Table of contents :
Front Matter ....Pages i-xvi
Four Paradigms (Kavous Ardalan)....Pages 1-14
Culture: Four Paradigmatic Views (Kavous Ardalan)....Pages 15-43
Religion: Four Paradigmatic Views (Kavous Ardalan)....Pages 45-56
Revolution: Four Paradigmatic Views (Kavous Ardalan)....Pages 57-81
Iranian Revolution: Four Paradigmatic Views (Kavous Ardalan)....Pages 83-128
Ideology: Four Paradigmatic Views (Kavous Ardalan)....Pages 129-150
Ideology of Iranian Revolution: Four Paradigmatic Views (Kavous Ardalan)....Pages 151-162
Understanding Revolution: A Comprehensive Approach (Kavous Ardalan)....Pages 163-209
Conclusion (Kavous Ardalan)....Pages 211-214

Citation preview

Kavous Ardalan

Understanding Revolution A Multi-Paradigmatic Approach

Understanding Revolution

Kavous Ardalan

Understanding Revolution A Multi-Paradigmatic Approach

Kavous Ardalan School of Management Marist College Poughkeepsie, NY, USA

ISBN 978-3-030-47590-1    ISBN 978-3-030-47591-8 (eBook) https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-47591-8 © The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020 This work is subject to copyright. All rights are reserved by the Publisher, whether the whole or part of the material is concerned, specifically the rights of translation, reprinting, reuse of illustrations, recitation, broadcasting, reproduction on microfilms or in any other physical way, and transmission or information storage and retrieval, electronic adaptation, computer software, or by similar or dissimilar methodology now known or hereafter developed. The use of general descriptive names, registered names, trademarks, service marks, etc. in this publication does not imply, even in the absence of a specific statement, that such names are exempt from the relevant protective laws and regulations and therefore free for general use. The publisher, the authors, and the editors are safe to assume that the advice and information in this book are believed to be true and accurate at the date of publication. Neither the publisher nor the authors or the editors give a warranty, expressed or implied, with respect to the material contained herein or for any errors or omissions that may have been made. The publisher remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations. This Springer imprint is published by the registered company Springer Nature Switzerland AG The registered company address is: Gewerbestrasse 11, 6330 Cham, Switzerland

This work is dedicated to my family.


This book is the seventh book that reflects the change in the way that I think about the world, and in writing it, I hope that it will do the same for others. The writing of my first book1 began a few years after I received my Ph.D. in Finance from York University in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. But, the origin of it goes back to the time I was a doctoral candidate and took a course in Philosophy and Method with Professor Gareth Morgan. At that time, I was exposed to ideas which were totally new to me. They occupied my mind and every day I found them more helpful than the day before in explaining what I experienced in my daily, practical, and intellectual life. When in high school, I grew up overseas and I was raised to appreciate mathematics and science at the expense of other fields of study. Then in college, I received my Bachelors in Arts in Economics. Afterwards, in order to obtain my master’s and doctoral degrees in Economics, I attended University of California, Santa Barbara and I received my specialized training in Economics. I pursued further studies in Finance at York University and finished with another doctoral degree. As is clear, throughout the years of my education, I was trained to see the world in a special narrow way. Among various courses, which I took during all these years of training, one course stood out as being different and, in the final analysis, the most influential. It was the Philosophy and Method course which I took with Professor Gareth Morgan at York University. It was most influential, because none of the other courses gave me the vision that this one did. Whereas all the other courses trained me to see the world in one special narrow way, this course provided me with the idea that the world can be seen from different vantage points, where each one would be insightful in its own way. Over the years, constant applications of this idea in my daily, practical, and intellectual life were quite an eye-opener for me such that I naturally converted to this new way of thinking about the world. This happened in spite of the fact that my entire education, almost exclusively, trained me to see the world in a  Ardalan (2008).





narrow and limited way. Since then, I have been writing based on this new approach, and the current book represents what has been accumulated since the publication of my first six books.2 This book crosses two existing lines of literature: philosophy of social science and social revolution. More specifically, its frame of reference is Burrell and Morgan (1979) and Morgan (1983) and applies their ideas and insights to social revolution. Clearly, a thorough treatment of all the relevant issues referred to in this work is well beyond just one book. Within such limits, this book aims at only providing an overview, a review, a taxonomy, or a map of the topics and leaving further discussions of all the relevant issues to the references cited herein. In other words, the aim of this work is not so much to create a new piece of puzzle as it is to fit the existing pieces of puzzle together in order to make sense of it. To implement this aim, and given the specialized and abstract nature of the philosophy of social science, this book first discusses the framework of Burrell and Morgan (1979), and in this context, the following chapters bring some of the important dimensions of social revolution into focus. The chapters in this book put the pieces of puzzle together into the bigger picture. The choice of what is to be included in the book and what is to be excluded has been a hard one. In numerous occasions, it is decided to refer to some massive topics very briefly. In any case, this book is only an overview, but it provides a comprehensive set of references to avoid some of its shortcomings. The main theme of the book is as follows. Social theory can usefully be conceived in terms of four key paradigms: functionalist, interpretive, radical humanist, and radical structuralist. The four paradigms are founded upon different assumptions about the nature of social science and the nature of society. Each generates theories, concepts, and analytical tools that are different from those of the other paradigms. These four paradigms are not air-tight compartments into which all theories must be squeezed. They are heuristic devices which are created to make sense of the messy reality of the social revolution. They are merely useful constructs to aid understanding. They are not claimed to be the only constructs to aid understanding. They are not claimed to be the best constructs to aid understanding. They are only one such construct, among many possible constructs, to aid understanding. They provide an analytically clear and compelling map of the terrain. They help in differentiating the various perspectives that exist with respect to a given phenomenon. Their purpose is to help to understand differences, but not to make invidious comparisons. There is no one paradigm that can capture the essence of reality. Paradigm diversity provides enhanced understanding. In intellectual, as well as natural environments, diversity is a sine qua non of robust good health. There is no singular approach that in its universality, can apprehend the totality of reality. Since academic models are inevitably the product of a partial viewpoint, they will always be biased, and hence a multiplicity of perspectives is required to represent the complexity and diversity of phenomena and activities. The four paradigms provide a full-circle world-view.

 Ardalan (2008, 2014, 2016, 2018, 2019a, 2019b).




The mainstream in most academic fields of study is based upon the functionalist paradigm, and, for the most part, mainstream scholars are not always entirely aware of the traditions to which they belong. Their understanding of different paradigms leads to a better understanding of the multifaceted nature of their academic field of study. Although a researcher may decide to conduct research from the point of view of a certain paradigm, an understanding of the nature of other paradigms leads to a better understanding of what one is doing. Knowledge of any phenomenon is ultimately a product of the researcher’s paradigmatic approach to that multifaceted phenomenon. Viewed from this angle, the pursuit of knowledge is seen as much an ethical, moral, ideological, and political activity, as a technical one. Each paradigm can gain much from the contributions of the other paradigms. The ancient parable of six blind scholars and their experience with the elephant illustrates the benefits of paradigm diversity. There were six blind scholars who did not know what the elephant looked like and had never even heard its name. They decided to obtain a mental picture—that is, knowledge—by touching the animal. The first blind scholar felt the elephant’s trunk and argued that the elephant was like a lively snake. The second bind scholar rubbed along one of the elephant’s enormous legs and likened the animal to a rough column of massive proportions. The third blind scholar took hold of the elephant’s tail and insisted that the elephant resembled a large, flexible brush. The fourth blind scholar felt the elephant’s sharp tusk and declared it to be like a great spear. The fifth blind scholar examined the elephant’s waving ear and was convinced that the animal was some sort of a fan. The sixth blind scholar, who occupied the space between the elephant’s front and hid legs, could not touch any parts of the elephant and consequently asserted that there were no such beasts as elephant at all and accused his colleagues of making up fantastic stories about non-existing things. Each of the six blind scholars held firmly to their understanding of an elephant and they argued and fought about which story contained the correct understanding of the elephant. As a result, their entire community was torn apart, and suspicion and distrust became the order of the day. This parable contains many valuable lessons. First, probably reality is too complex to be fully grasped by imperfect human beings. Second, although each person might correctly identify one aspect of reality, each may incorrectly attempt to reduce the entire phenomenon to their own partial and narrow experience. Third, the maintenance of communal peace and harmony might be worth much more than stubbornly clinging to one’s understanding of the world. Fourth, it might be wise for each person to return to reality and exchange positions with others to better appreciate the whole of the reality.3 This book, as in my previous six books, advocates a multi-paradigmatic approach that employs the method of juxtaposing heterogeneous viewpoints in order to illuminate more comprehensively the phenomenon under consideration. The multi-­  This parable is taken from Steger (2002).




paradigmatic approach uses a systematic and structured method to explain the phenomenon from the viewpoint of each paradigm and juxtaposes them in order to transcend the limitations of each of the worldviews. My first book, entitled On the Role of Paradigms in Finance, applied the multi-­ paradigmatic approach to the following phenomena: (1) development of the academic field of finance, (2) mathematical language of the academic field of finance, (3) mathematical method of the academic field of finance, (4) money, (5) corporate governance, (6) markets, (7) technology, and (8) education. My second book, entitled Understanding Globalization: A Multi-Dimensional Approach, applied, in the context of globalization, the multi-paradigmatic approach to the following phenomena: (1) world order, (2) culture, (3) the state, (4) information technology, (5) economics, (6) production, (7) development, and (8) Bretton Woods Institutions. My third book, entitled Paradigms in Political Economy, applied the multi-­ paradigmatic approach to the following phenomena: (1) the state, (2) justice, (3) freedom, (4) democracy, (5) liberal democracy, (6) media, and (7) the great recession. These seven applications of the multi-paradigmatic approach continued to show that the multi-paradigmatic approach is very versatile in the sense that it can be applied to almost any phenomenon, and that the multi-paradigmatic approach can be applied not only to categorical concepts such as the state, justice, freedom, and media, but also to categorical and sub-categorical concepts such as democracy and liberal democracy, as well as practical categories such as the great recession. My fourth book, entitled Case Method and Pluralist Economics: Philosophy, Methodology, and Practice, applied the multi-paradigmatic approach to education and economics, and noted that both the case method and pluralist economics emanate from the same foundational philosophy that views the world as being socially constructed and that both of them advocate pluralism. Therefore, the case method seems to be compatible and congruent with pluralist economics. To this end, the book discussed the philosophical, methodological, and practical aspects of the case method through their comparisons with those of the lecture method, which is commonly known and experienced by most people. The book also discussed pluralist economics through the exposition of the philosophical foundations of the extant economics schools of thought, which is the focal point of the attention and admiration of pluralist economics. My fifth book, entitled Global Political Economy: A Multi-Paradigmatic Approach, applied, in the context of global political economy, the multi-­paradigmatic approach to the following phenomena: (1) the driving force of globalization, (2) governance, (3) modernity, (4) finance, (5) regionalization, (6) war, and (7) democracy. These seven applications of the multi-paradigmatic approach continued to show that the multi-paradigmatic approach is very versatile in the sense that it can be applied to almost any phenomenon, both national or international, as well as local and global. My sixth book, entitled Equity Home Bias: A Place-Attachment Perspective, introduced “place attachment” as a new explanation for the “equity home bias” puzzle—the empirical finding that people overinvest in domestic stocks relative to



the theoretically optimal investment portfolio. For this purpose, Chapter 1 provided a comprehensive review of the extant literature on the “equity home bias puzzle.” Chapter 2 provided an overview of the literature on “place attachment.” Chapter 3 crossed the two lines of research to provide “place attachment” as a new explanation for the “equity home bias puzzle.” Chapter 4 looked into the future of place attachment and its effect on the home bias. At first sight, my sixth book might not seem to have any relationship with the multi-paradigmatic approach. But it needs to be said that: (1) the qualitative methodology, rather than the quantitative methodology of mainstream finance, that is used in my sixth book stems from the teachings of the multi-paradigmatic approach, i.e., there are paradigmatically diverse research methodologies, and (2) the review of the literature on “place attachment,” which is provided in Chapter 2 of my sixth book, applies a multi-paradigmatic approach, i.e., there are paradigmatically diverse views on place attachment. The current book, entitled Understanding Revolution: A Multi-Paradigmatic Approach, intends to show how a multi-paradigmatic approach can be used in order to better understand social revolution. The book starts with the discussion of four broad worldviews, or paradigms. It, then, discusses several major social phenomena from the viewpoints of the four paradigms to present the benefits and characteristics of the multi-paradigmatic approach. It also shows how the multi-paradigmatic approach helps a better and more comprehensive understanding the phenomenon under consideration. It, finally, illustrates how the characteristics of the multi-­ paradigmatic approach can be used to better understand social revolution. My previous six books have shown how successfully the multi-paradigmatic approach provides a broader and a balanced view of the phenomenon under consideration. In addition, this book shows that the multi-paradigmatic approach substantively improves the analysis and understanding of social revolution and rectifies many extant controversies. The book is about understanding revolution through a multi-paradigmatic approach. For this purpose, the book starts with a discussion of four most diverse worldviews or paradigms. Then, it discusses six relevant social aspects/dimensions from the viewpoints of the four most diverse worldviews or paradigms. With this background, the book introduces a comprehensive approach to the understanding of revolution. The book crosses two existing lines of literature: social philosophy and social revolution. The main theme of the book can usefully be conceived in terms of four key paradigms: functionalist, interpretive, radical humanist, and radical structuralist. The four paradigms are founded upon different assumptions about the nature of social science and the nature of society. Each paradigm generates theories, concepts, and analytical tools which are different from those of other paradigms. An understanding of different paradigms leads to a broader and a balanced understanding of the multi-faceted nature of the subject matter. A multi-­paradigmatic approach promotes self-reflexivity and reduces the risk of excessive dogmatism. In this book, the first chapter reviews the four paradigms. Then, each of the next six chapters provides four paradigmatic explanations for each of the six relevant aspects/dimensions of human society. With this background, the book introduces a



comprehensive approach to the understanding of revolution. The final chapter concludes by recommending paradigm diversity. Overall, this book shows the versatility and utility of the multi-paradigmatic approach. In this book, Chapters 2 through 7 apply the multi-paradigmatic approach to a variety of social phenomena to gain a better understanding of how to apply the multi-paradigmatic approach to any possible phenomenon. Although the case of the Iranian Revolution is discussed to gain not only some understanding of a revolution, but also an understanding of how to apply the multi-paradigmatic approach, as the main purpose is to understand how to apply the multi-paradigmatic approach. This is because an understanding of how to apply the multi-paradigmatic approach is deemed more crucial in understanding revolution than a case study of one revolution. The multi-paradigmatic approach will enable one to better analyze and better understand most, if not all, social revolutions. Indeed, this is why the title of the book is “Understanding Revolution: A Multi-Paradigmatic Approach.” Chapters 2 through 7 also discusses six aspects, or dimensions, of social life. Each chapter focuses on one aspect, or dimension, of social life and discusses that aspect, or dimension, from the four most diverse paradigmatic viewpoints: functionalist, interpretive, radical humanist, and radical structuralist. Each chapter allocates the same space, in terms of the number of book pages, to each of the four viewpoints, which is the same principle as followed in my previous books as well. Each of the four paradigmatic viewpoints is represented by a typical viewpoint. These four different perspectives should be regarded as typical polar viewpoints. The work of certain authors helps to define the logically coherent form of a certain polar viewpoint. But, the work of many authors who share more than one perspective is located between the poles of the spectrum defined by the polar viewpoints. For instance, some critical realists believe that they offer a meta-theoretical perspective that actually subsumes all four paradigms treated in this book by explicitly theorizing the subjective-objective and the reproduction-transformation dialectics. The purpose of this book is not to put people into boxes. It is, rather, to recommend that a satisfactory perspective may draw upon several of the typical polar viewpoints. This book is unique due to its especial characteristics as follows: • It is systematic and methodic: It discusses each of the six aspects/dimensions of human social life from the same four paradigmatic viewpoints. This method of analysis can be applied to any phenomenon, i.e., each phenomenon can be viewed from these four perspectives. This method is, indeed, versatile and resilient. • It is fundamental and applied: It applies four fundamental viewpoints to each of the six aspects/dimensions of human social life. • It is fair and unbiased: In each chapter, it allocates the same number of pages to each paradigmatic viewpoint. In contrast to other books on revolution, this book does not focus on particular aspect/dimension of revolution and from a specific viewpoint. This book emphasizes as many aspects/dimensions of revolution as



possible and, in this way, proposes a comprehensive approach to the understanding of revolution. • It is enlightening: It provides four different views with respect to the same phenomenon, and therefore, it provides a broader and a balanced understanding of the phenomenon under consideration. • It is multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary: Its explanation of many phenomena, including the phenomena of conflict and social change, are both multi-­ dimensional and multi-perspectival. The writing of the chapters of this book involved extensive work over several years. It required peace of mind and extended uninterrupted research time. My deepest expressions of gratitude go to my wife Haleh, my son Arash, and my daughter Camellia for their prolonged patience, unlimited understanding, sustained support, constant cooperation, and individual independence during all these long years. I hold much respect for my late parents (Javad and Afagholmolouk) who instilled in their children (Ghobad, Golnar, Alireza, and Kavous) the grand Ardalan family’s values of respect, openness, and love of learning, among others. I sincerely appreciate the heartfelt support of my in-laws (Farideh, Parviz, and Houman) who have always been in close contact with us since the formation of my immediate family. The ideas expressed in this work are based on the teachings, writings, and insights of Professor Gareth Morgan, to whom the nucleus of this work is owed. Needless to say, I stand responsible for all the errors and omissions. I would like to thank Professor Gareth Morgan who taught me how to diversely view the world and accordingly inspired my work. I am thankful of the Marist College library staff for their timely provision of the requested literature, which they obtained from various sources. I would also like to thank the publishers, referenced in the endnotes, who allowed me to use their materials. Certainly, I would like to thank the respectable people who work at Springer for their recognition of the significance of my work and for their publication of the book with utmost professionalism. Poughkeepsie, NY, USA  Kavous Ardalan

References Ardalan, K. (2008). On the Role of Paradigms in Finance. Aldershot, Hampshire, Britain: Ashgate Publishing Limited, and Burlington, Vermont, USA: Ashgate Publishing Company. Ardalan, K. (2014). Understanding Globalization: A Multi-Dimensional Approach. Piscataway, New Jersey, USA: Transaction Publishers. Ardalan, K. (2016). Paradigms in Political Economy. New York, New York, USA: Routledge. Ardalan, K. (2018). Case Method and Pluralist Economics: Philosophy, Methodology, and Practice. New York, New York, USA; and Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing AG. Ardalan, K. (2019a). Global Political Economy: A Multi-Paradigmatic Approach. New  York, New York, USA; and Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing AG.



Ardalan, K. (2019b). Equity Home Bias in International Finance: A Place-Attachment Perspective. Abingdon, Oxon, UK; and New York, New York, USA: Routledge. Burrell, G. & Morgan, G. (1979). Sociological Paradigms and Organizational Analysis. Hants, Britain: Gower Publishing Company Limited. Morgan, G. (1983). Beyond Method: Strategies for Social Research. Beverley Hills, California, USA: Sage Publications. Steger, M. B. (2002). Globalism: The New Market Ideology. New York, New York, USA: Rowan & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.


1 Four Paradigms����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������    1 1 Functionalist Paradigm ��������������������������������������������������������������������    4 2 Interpretive Paradigm������������������������������������������������������������������������    5 3 Radical Humanist Paradigm ������������������������������������������������������������    6 4 Radical Structuralist Paradigm ��������������������������������������������������������    8 5 Conclusion����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������    9 References��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������   10 2 Culture: Four Paradigmatic Views��������������������������������������������������������   15 1 Functionalist View����������������������������������������������������������������������������   15 2 Interpretive View������������������������������������������������������������������������������   21 3 Radical Humanist View��������������������������������������������������������������������   26 4 Radical Structuralist View����������������������������������������������������������������   32 5 Conclusion����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������   38 References��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������   38 3 Religion: Four Paradigmatic Views��������������������������������������������������������   45 1 Functionalist View����������������������������������������������������������������������������   45 2 Interpretive View������������������������������������������������������������������������������   47 3 Radical Humanist View��������������������������������������������������������������������   50 4 Radical Structuralist View����������������������������������������������������������������   52 5 Conclusion����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������   54 References��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������   55 4 Revolution: Four Paradigmatic Views ��������������������������������������������������   57 1 Functionalist View����������������������������������������������������������������������������   57 2 Interpretive View������������������������������������������������������������������������������   63 3 Radical Humanist View��������������������������������������������������������������������   68 4 Radical Structuralist View����������������������������������������������������������������   73 5 Conclusion����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������   79 References��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������   79




5 Iranian Revolution: Four Paradigmatic Views ������������������������������������   83 1 Functionalist View����������������������������������������������������������������������������   83 2 Interpretive View������������������������������������������������������������������������������   94 3 Radical Humanist View��������������������������������������������������������������������  104 4 Radical Structuralist View����������������������������������������������������������������  115 5 Conclusion����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������  126 References��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������  126 6 Ideology: Four Paradigmatic Views ������������������������������������������������������  129 1 Functionalist View����������������������������������������������������������������������������  129 2 Interpretive View������������������������������������������������������������������������������  134 3 Radical Humanist View��������������������������������������������������������������������  139 4 Radical Structuralist View����������������������������������������������������������������  144 5 Conclusion����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������  149 References��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������  149 7 Ideology of Iranian Revolution: Four Paradigmatic Views ����������������  151 1 Functionalist View����������������������������������������������������������������������������  151 2 Interpretive View������������������������������������������������������������������������������  153 3 Radical Humanist View��������������������������������������������������������������������  156 4 Radical Structuralist View����������������������������������������������������������������  158 5 Conclusion����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������  160 References��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������  160 8 Understanding Revolution: A Comprehensive Approach��������������������  163 1 Introduction��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������  163 2 Desirability of a Comprehensive Approach to Conflict and Revolution����������������������������������������������������������������������������������  164 3 Continuum and Its Applications�������������������������������������������������������  166 3.1 Continuum of Conflict����������������������������������������������������������  167 3.2 Continuum of Revolution������������������������������������������������������  168 4 Conceptual Dichotomies Encountered in the Literature������������������  174 5 A Multidimensional, Multidisciplinary, and Holistic Approach������  179 6 A Comprehensive Understanding of Revolution������������������������������  181 6.1 Individual and Conflict ��������������������������������������������������������  184 6.2 Conflict Resolution ��������������������������������������������������������������  185 6.3 Social Revolution������������������������������������������������������������������  188 7 Consistency with Alternative Ways of Dividing the Literature��������  200 8 Consistency with Alternative Theories of Causes of Revolution������  201 9 Consistency with Alternative Theories of the Course of Revolution������������������������������������������������������������������������  203 10 Consistency with Alternative Theories of the Consequences of Revolution������������������������������������������������������������������������������������  205 11 Conclusion����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������  206 References��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������  206 9 Conclusion������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������  211

Chapter 1

Four Paradigms

Social theory can usefully be conceived in terms of four key paradigms: functionalist, interpretive, radical humanist, and radical structuralist. The four paradigms are founded upon different assumptions about the nature of social science and the nature of society. Each generates theories, concepts, and analytical tools which are different from those of other paradigms.1 All theories are based on a philosophy of science and a theory of society. Many theorists appear to be unaware of, or ignore, the assumptions underlying these philosophies. They emphasize only some aspects of the phenomenon and ignore others. Unless they bring out the basic philosophical assumptions of the theories, their analysis can be misleading; since by emphasizing differences between theories, they imply diversity in approach. While there appear to be different kinds of theory, they are founded on a certain philosophy, worldview, or paradigm. This becomes evident when these theories are related to the wider background of social theory. The functionalist paradigm has provided the framework for current mainstream academic fields and accounts for the largest proportion of theory and research in their respective academic fields. In order to understand a new paradigm, theorists should be fully aware of assumptions upon which their own paradigm is based. Moreover, to understand a 1  For the literature on paradigms, see Bottomore (1975), Clark (1985), Denisoff (1974), Eckburg and Hill (1979), Effrat (1973), Evered and Louis (1981), Friedheim (1979), Gioia and Pitre (1990), Goles and Hirschheim (2000), Guba (1985), Guba and Lincoln (1994), Hassard (1988, 1991a, 1991b, 1993, 2013), Holland (1990), Jackson and Carter (1991), Jackson and Carter (2008), Jennings, Perren, and Carter (2005), Jick (1979), Kirkwood and Campbell-Hunt (2007), Knudsen (2003), Kuhn (1962, 1970a, 1970b, 1974, 1977), Lammers (1974), Lehmann and Young (1974), Lewis and Grimes (1999), Lincoln (1985), Martin (1990), Maruyama (1974), Masterman (1970), McKelvey (2008), Mir and Mir (2002), Morgan (1990), Okhuysen and Bonardi (2011), Parsons (1967), Ritzer (1975), Romani, Primecz, and Topcu (2011), Schultz and Hatch (1996), Shapere (1971), Siehl and Martin (1988), Snizek (1976), Steinle (1983), van de Berge (1963), White (1983), and Willmott (1990, 1993).

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020 K. Ardalan, Understanding Revolution, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-47591-8_1



1  Four Paradigms

new paradigm, one has to explore it from within, since the concepts in one paradigm cannot easily be interpreted in terms of those of another. No attempt should be made to criticize or evaluate a paradigm from the outside. This is self-defeating since it is based on a separate paradigm. All four paradigms can be easily criticized and ruined in this way. These four paradigms are of paramount importance to any scientist, because the process of learning about a favored paradigm is also the process of learning what that paradigm is not. The knowledge of paradigms makes scientists aware of the boundaries within which they approach their subject. Each of the four paradigms implies a different way of social theorizing. Before discussing each paradigm, it is useful to look at the notion of “paradigm.” Burrell and Morgan (1979)2 regard the: ... four paradigms as being defined by very basic meta-theoretical assumptions which underwrite the frame of reference, mode of theorizing and modus operandi of the social theorists who operate within them. It is a term which is intended to emphasize the commonality of perspective which binds the work of a group of theorists together in such a way that they can be usefully regarded as approaching social theory within the bounds of the same problematic. The paradigm does ... have an underlying unity in terms of its basic and often “taken for granted” assumptions, which separate a group of theorists in a very fundamental way from theorists located in other paradigms. The “unity” of the paradigm thus derives from reference to alternative views of reality which lie outside its boundaries and which may not necessarily even be recognized as existing. (pages 23–24)

Each theory can be related to one of the four broad worldviews. These adhere to different sets of fundamental assumptions about the nature of science – that is, the subjective-objective dimension – and the nature of society, that is, the dimension of regulation-radical change, as in Fig. 1.1.3 Assumptions related to the nature of science are assumptions with respect to ontology, epistemology, human nature, and methodology. The assumptions about ontology are assumptions regarding the very essence of the phenomenon under investigation. That is, to what extent the phenomenon is objective and external to the individual or it is subjective and the product of individual’s mind. The assumptions about epistemology are assumptions about the nature of knowledge. That is, they are assumptions about how one might go about understanding the world and communicate such knowledge to others. That is, what constitutes knowledge and to what extent it is something which can be acquired or it is something which has to be personally experienced.

2  This work borrows heavily from the ideas and insights of Burrell and Morgan (1979) and Morgan (1983) and applies them to revolution. Burrell and Morgan (1979) state “The scope for applying the analytical scheme to other field of study is enormous … readers interested in applying the scheme in this way should find little difficulty in proceeding from the sociological analyses ... to an analysis of the literature in their own sphere of specialised interest.” (page 35) 3  This can be used as both a classifactory device, or more importantly, as an analytical tool.

1  Four Paradigms


The Sociology of Radical Change S U B J E C T I V E

Radical Humanist

Radical Structuralist




The Sociology of Regulation Fig. 1.1  The Four Paradigms. Each paradigm adheres to a set of fundamental assumptions about the nature of science (i.e., the subjective-objective dimension) and the nature of society (i.e., the dimension of regulation-radical change)

The assumptions about human nature are concerned with human nature and, in particular, the relationship between individuals and their environment, which is the object and subject of social sciences. That is, to what extent human beings and their experiences are the products of their environment or human beings are creators of their environment. The assumptions about methodology are related to the way in which one attempts to investigate and obtain knowledge about the social world. That is, to what extent the methodology treats the social world as being real hard and external to the individual or it is as being of a much softer, personal, and more subjective quality. In the former, the focus is on the universal relationship among elements of the phenomenon, whereas in the latter, the focus is on the understanding of the way in which the individual creates, modifies, and interprets the situation which is experienced. The assumptions related to the nature of society are concerned with the extent of regulation of the society or radical change in the society. Sociology of regulation provides explanation of society based on the assumption of its unity and cohesiveness. It focuses on the need to understand and explain why society tends to hold together rather than fall apart. Sociology of radical change provides explanation of society based on the assumption of its deep-seated structural conflict, modes of domination, and structural contradiction. It focuses on the deprivation of human beings, both material and psychic, and it looks toward alternatives rather than the acceptance of status quo. The subjective-objective dimension and the regulation-radical change dimension together define four paradigms, each of which share common fundamental assumptions about the nature of social science and the nature of society. Each paradigm has a fundamentally unique perspective for the analysis of social phenomena.


1  Four Paradigms

1  Functionalist Paradigm The functionalist paradigm assumes that society has a concrete existence and follows certain order. These assumptions lead to the existence of an objective and value-free social science which can produce true explanatory and predictive knowledge of the reality “out there.” It assumes scientific theories can be assessed objectively by reference to empirical evidence. Scientists do not see any roles for themselves, within the phenomenon which they analyze, through the rigor and technique of the scientific method. It attributes independence to the observer from the observed. That is, an ability to observe “what is” without affecting it. It assumes there are universal standards of science, which determine what constitutes an adequate explanation of what is observed. It assumes there are external rules and regulations governing the external world. The goal of scientists is to find the orders that prevail within that phenomenon. The functionalist paradigm seeks to provide rational explanations of social affairs and generate regulative sociology. It assumes a continuing order, pattern, and coherence and tries to explain what is. It emphasizes the importance of understanding order, the equilibrium and stability in society, and the way in which these can be maintained. It is concerned with the regulation and control of social affairs. It believes in social engineering as a basis for social reform. The rationality which underlies functionalist science is used to explain the rationality of society. Science provides the basis for structuring and ordering the social world, similar to the structure and order in the natural world. The methods of natural science are used to generate explanations of the social world. The use of mechanical and biological analogies for modeling and understanding the social phenomena is particularly favored. Functionalists are individualists. That is, the properties of the aggregate are determined by the properties of its units. Their approach to social science is rooted in the tradition of positivism. It assumes that the social world is concrete, meaning it can be identified, studied, and measured through approaches derived from the natural sciences. Functionalists believe that the positivist methods which have triumphed in natural sciences should prevail in social sciences, as well. In addition, the functionalist paradigm has become dominant in academic sociology. The social world is treated as a place of concrete reality, characterized by uniformities and regularities which can be understood and explained in terms of causes and effects. Given these assumptions, the individuals are regarded as taking on a passive role; their behavior is being determined by the social environment. Functionalists are pragmatic in orientation and are concerned to understand society so that the knowledge thus generated can be used in society. It is problem orientated in approach as it is concerned to provide practical solutions to practical problems. In Fig. 1.1, the functionalist paradigm occupies the southeast quadrant. Schools of thought within this paradigm can be located on the objective-subjective

2  Interpretive Paradigm


c­ ontinuum. From the right to left, they are Objectivism, Social System Theory, Integrative Theory, Interactionism, and Social Action Theory.4

2  Interpretive Paradigm The interpretive paradigm assumes that social reality is the result of the subjective interpretations of individuals. It sees the social world as a process which is created by individuals. Social reality, insofar as it exists outside the consciousness of any individual, is regarded as being a network of assumptions and intersubjectively shared meanings. This assumption leads to the belief there are shared multiple realities which are sustained and changed. Researchers recognize their role within the phenomenon under investigation. Their frame of reference is one of participant, as opposed to observer. The goal of the interpretive researchers is to find the orders that prevail within the phenomenon under consideration; however, they are not objective. The interpretive paradigm is concerned with understanding the world as it is, at the level of subjective experience. It seeks explanations within the realm of individual consciousness and subjectivity. Its analysis of the social world produces sociology of regulation. Its views are underwritten by the assumptions that the social world is cohesive, ordered, and integrated. Interpretive sociologists seek to understand the source of social reality. They often delve into the depth of human consciousness and subjectivity in their quest for the meanings in social life. They reject the use of mathematics and biological analogies in learning about the society, and their approach places emphasis on understanding the social world from the vantage point of the individuals who are actually engaged in social activities. The interpretive paradigm views the functionalist position as unsatisfactory for two reasons. First, human values affect the process of scientific enquiry. That is, scientific method is not value free, since the frame of reference of the scientific observer determines the way in which scientific knowledge is obtained. Second, in cultural sciences, the subject matter is spiritual in nature. That is, human beings cannot be studied by the methods of the natural sciences, which aim to establish general laws. In the cultural sphere, human beings are perceived as free. An understanding of their lives and actions can be obtained by the intuition of the total wholes, which is bound to break down by atomistic analysis of functionalist paradigm. Cultural phenomena are seen as the external manifestations of inner experience. The cultural sciences, therefore, need to apply analytical methods based on “understanding,” through which the scientist can seek to understand human beings, their minds, and their feelings, and the way these are expressed in their outward actions.

4  For classics in this literature, see Blau (1955, 1964), Buckley (1967), Comte (1953), Durkheim (1938, 1947), James (1890), Mead (1932a, 1932b, 1934, 1938), Merton (1968), Pareto (1935), Simmel (1936, 1955), Skinner (1953, 1957, 1972), and Spencer (1873).


1  Four Paradigms

The notion of “understanding” is a defining characteristic of all theories located within this paradigm. The interpretive paradigm believes that science is based on “taken for granted” assumptions and, like any other social practice, must be understood within a specific context. Therefore, it cannot generate objective and value-free knowledge. Scientific knowledge is socially constructed and socially sustained; its significance and meaning can only be understood within its immediate social context. The interpretive paradigm regards mainstream social theorists as belonging to a small and self-sustaining community, who believe that corporations and financial markets exist in a concrete world. They theorize about concepts which have little significance to people outside the community, who practice social theory, and the limited community whom social theorists may attempt to serve. Functionalist social theorists tend to treat their subject of study as a hard, concrete, and tangible empirical phenomenon which exists “out there” in the “real world.” Interpretive researchers are opposed to such structural absolution. They emphasize that the social world is no more than the subjective construction of individual human beings who create and sustain a social world of intersubjectively shared meaning, which is in a continuous process of reaffirmation or change. Therefore, there are no universally valid social rules. Interpretive social research enables scientists to examine social behavior together with ethical, cultural, political, and social issues. In Fig. 1.1, the interpretive paradigm occupies the southwest quadrant. Schools of thought within this paradigm can be located on the objective-subjective continuum. From the left to right, they are Solipsism, Phenomenology, Phenomenological Sociology, and Hermeneutics.5

3  Radical Humanist Paradigm The radical humanist paradigm provides critiques of the status quo and is concerned to articulate, from a subjective standpoint, the sociology of radical change, modes of domination, emancipation, deprivation, and potentiality. Based on its subjectivist approach, it places great emphasis on human consciousness. It tends to view society as antihuman. It views the process of reality creation as feeding back on itself; such that individuals and society are prevented from reaching their highest possible potential. That is, the consciousness of human beings is dominated by the ideological superstructures of the social system, which results in their alienation or false consciousness. This, in turn, prevents true human fulfillment. The social theorist regards the orders that prevail in the society as instruments of ideological domination.

5  For classics in this literature, see Berkeley (1962), Dilthey (1976), Gadamer (1965), Garfinkel (1967), Hegel (1931), Husserl (1929), Schutz (1964, 1966, 1967), Winch (1958), and Wittgenstein (1963).

3  Radical Humanist Paradigm


The major concern for theorists is with the way this occurs and finding ways in which human beings can release themselves from constraints which existing social arrangements place upon realization of their full potential. They seek to change the social world through a change in consciousness. Radical humanists believe that everything must be grasped as a whole, because the whole dominates the parts in an all-embracing sense. Moreover, truth is historically specific, relative to a given set of circumstances, so that one should not search for generalizations for the laws of motion of societies. The radical humanists believe the functionalist paradigm accepts purposive rationality, logic of science, positive functions of technology, and neutrality of language and uses them in the construction of “value-free” social theories. The radical humanist theorists intend to demolish this structure, emphasizing the political and repressive nature of it. They aim to show the role that science, ideology, technology, language, and other aspects of the superstructure play in sustaining and developing the system of power and domination, within the totality of the social formation. Their function is to influence the consciousness of human beings for eventual emancipation and formation of alternative social formations. The radical humanists note that functionalist sociologists create and sustain a view of social reality which maintains the status quo and which forms one aspect of the network of ideological domination of the society. The focus of the radical humanists upon the “superstructural” aspects of society reflects their attempt to move away from the economism of orthodox Marxism and emphasize the Hegelian dialectics. It is through the dialectic that the objective and subjective aspects of social life interact. The superstructure of society is believed to be the medium through which the consciousness of human beings is controlled and molded to fit the requirements of the social formation as a whole. The concepts of structural conflict, contradiction, and crisis do not play a major role in this paradigm, because these are more objectivist view of social reality, that is, the ones which fall in the radical structuralist paradigm. In the radical humanist paradigm, the concepts of consciousness, alienation, and critique form their concerns. In Fig.  1.1, the radical humanist paradigm occupies the northwest quadrant. Schools of thought within this paradigm can be located on the objective-subjective continuum. From the left to right, they are Solipsism, French Existentialism, Anarchistic Individualism, and Critical Theory.6

6  For classics in this literature, see Bookchin (1974), Fichte (1970), Goldmann (1969), Gouldner (1954a, 1954b, 1970, 1973, 1976), Gramsci (1971), Habermas (1970a, 1970b, 1971, 1972, 1974, 1976), Horkheimer (1972), Lukacs (1971), Marcuse (1954, 1964, 1966, 1968), Marx (1975), Meszaros (1970, 1971), Sartre (1966, 1974, 1976), and Stirner (1907).


1  Four Paradigms

4  Radical Structuralist Paradigm The radical structuralist paradigm assumes that reality is objective and concrete, as it is rooted in the materialist view of natural and social world. The social world, similar to the natural world, has an independent existence, that is, it exists outside the minds of human beings. Sociologists aim at discovering and understanding the patterns and regularities which characterize the social world. Scientists do not see any roles for themselves in the phenomenon under investigation. They use scientific methods to find the order that prevails in the phenomenon. This paradigm views society as a potentially dominating force. Sociologists working within this paradigm have an objectivist standpoint and are committed to radical change, emancipation, and potentiality. In their analysis, they emphasize structural conflict, modes of domination, contradiction, and deprivation. They analyze the basic interrelationships within the total social formation and emphasize the fact that radical change is inherent in the structure of society, and the radical change takes place though political and economic crises. This radical change necessarily disrupts the status quo and replaces it by a radically different social formation. It is through this radical change that the emancipation of human beings from the social structure is materialized. For radical structuralists, an understanding of classes in society is essential for understanding the nature of knowledge. They argue that all knowledge is class specific. That is, it is determined by the place one occupies in the productive process. Knowledge is more than a reflection of the material world in thought. It is determined by one’s relation to that reality. Since different classes occupy different positions in the process of material transformation, there are different kinds of knowledge. Hence class knowledge is produced by and for classes and exists in a struggle for domination. Knowledge is thus ideological. That is, it formulates views of reality and solves problems from class points of view. Radical structuralists reject the idea that it is possible to verify knowledge in an absolute sense through comparison with socially neutral theories or data. But, emphasize that there is the possibility of producing a “correct” knowledge from a class standpoint. They argue that the dominated class is uniquely positioned to obtain an objectively “correct” knowledge of social reality and its contradictions. It is the class with the most direct and widest access to the process of material transformation that ultimately produces and reproduces that reality. Radical structuralists’ analysis indicates that the social scientist, as a producer of class-based knowledge, is a part of the class struggle. Radical structuralists believe truth is the whole and emphasize the need to understand the social order as a totality rather than as a collection of small truths about various parts and aspects of society. The economic empiricists are seen as relying almost exclusively upon a number of seemingly disparate, data-packed, problem-­ centered studies. Such studies, therefore, are irrelevant exercises in mathematical methods.

5 Conclusion


This paradigm is based on four central notions. First, there is the notion of totality. All theories address the total social formation. This notion emphasizes that the parts reflect the totality, not the totality of the parts. Second, there is the notion of structure. The focus is upon the configurations of social relationships, called structures, which are treated as persistent and enduring concrete facilities. The third notion is that of contradiction. Structures, or social formations, contain contradictory and antagonistic relationships within them which act as seeds of their own decay. The fourth notion is that of crisis. Contradictions within a given totality reach a point at which they can no longer be contained. The resulting political, economic crises indicate the point of transformation from one totality to another, in which one set of structures is replaced by another of a fundamentally different kind. In Fig. 1.1, the radical structuralist paradigm occupies the north-east quadrant. Schools of thought within this paradigm can be located on the objective-subjective continuum. From the right to left, they are Russian Social Theory, Conflict Theory, and Contemporary Mediterranean Marxism.7

5  Conclusion This chapter briefly discussed social theory, its complexity, and diversity. It indicated that theorists are not always entirely aware of the traditions to which they belong. The diversity of theories presented in this section is vast. While each paradigm advocates a research strategy that is logically coherent, in terms of underlying assumptions, these vary from paradigm to paradigm. The phenomenon to be researched is conceptualized and studied in many different ways, each generating distinctive kinds of insight and understanding. There are many different ways of studying the same social phenomenon, and given that the insights generated by any one approach are at best partial and incomplete, the social researcher can gain much by reflecting on the nature and merits of different approaches before engaging in a particular mode of research practice. Social knowledge is ultimately a product of the researcher’s paradigmatic approach to this multifaceted phenomenon. Viewed from this angle, the pursuit of social knowledge is seen as much an ethical, moral, ideological, and political activity, as a technical one. Economists can gain much by exploiting the new insights coming from other paradigms.

7  For classics in this literature see Althusser (1969, 1971), Althusser and Balibar (1970), Bukharin (1965), Colletti (1972, 1974, 1975), Dahrendorf (1959), Marx (1973, 1976), Marx and Engels (1965, 1968), Plekhanov (1974), and Rex (1961, 1974).


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Chapter 2

Culture: Four Paradigmatic Views

Any explanation of culture is based on a worldview. The premise of this book is that any worldview can be associated with one of the four broad paradigms: functionalist, interpretive, radical humanist, and radical structuralist. This chapter takes the case of culture and discusses it from the four different viewpoints. It emphasizes that the four views expressed are equally scientific and informative; they look at the phenomenon from their certain paradigmatic viewpoint, and together, they provide a more balanced and a more comprehensive understanding of the phenomenon under consideration. In this chapter, Sects. 1, 2, 3, and 4 present the four perspectives, and Sect. 5 concludes the chapter.

1  Functionalist View Evolutionary psychology is centered on the complex, evolved psychological mechanisms that generate human behavior and culture. Evolutionary psychology is simply psychology that is informed by the additional knowledge that evolutionary biology has to offer, in the expectation that understanding the process that designed the human mind will advance the discovery of its architecture. It focuses on the evolved information-processing mechanisms that comprise the human mind, to clarify the necessary connection between evolutionary biology and the complex, irreducible social and cultural phenomena studied by anthropologists, sociologists, economists, and historians.1 1  For this literature, see Alexander and Seidman (1990), Barker (2012), Bell (1988), Boyd and Richerson (2005), Cosmides, Tooby, and Barkow (1992), Dunbar and Barrett (2007), Griswold (1994), Hall (2001), Harris (1979, 2001), Homans (1964), Janicki and Krebs (1998), Lewis (2002), Lipset (1967), Merton (1942), Moore (2012), Pagel (2012), Parsons (1961, 1967, 1977), Parsons and Shils (1951), Saussure (1964), Smelser (1959), Storey (2012), Tooby and Cosmides (1992),

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020 K. Ardalan, Understanding Revolution, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-47591-8_2



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Culture is not causeless and disembodied. It is generated in rich and intricate ways by information-processing mechanisms situated in human minds. These mechanisms are, in turn, the elaborately sculpted product of the evolutionary process. Therefore, to understand the relationship between biology and culture, one must first understand the architecture of our evolved psychology. Evolutionary psychology, by cross-connecting biology to the social sciences, provides conceptually integrated analyses of specific questions: analyses that move step by step, integrating evolutionary biology with psychology, and psychology with social and cultural phenomena. Conceptual integration – also known as vertical integration – refers to the principle that the various disciplines within the behavioral and social sciences should make themselves mutually consistent and consistent with what is known in the natural sciences as well. The natural sciences are already mutually consistent: the laws of chemistry are compatible with the laws of physics, even though they are not reducible to them. Similarly, the theory of natural selection cannot, even in principle, be expressed solely in terms of the laws of physics and chemistry, yet it is compatible with those laws. A conceptually integrated theory is one framed so that it is compatible with data and theory from other relevant fields. Chemists do not propose theories that violate the elementary physics principle of the conservation of energy: instead, they use the principle to make sound inferences about chemical processes. A compatibility principle is so taken for granted in the natural sciences that it is rarely articulated, although generally applied; the natural sciences are understood to be continuous. Such is not the case in the behavioral and social sciences. Evolutionary biology, psychology, psychiatry, anthropology, sociology, history, and economics largely live in inglorious isolation from one another: unlike the natural sciences, training in one of these fields does not regularly entail a shared understanding of the fundamentals of the others. As a result, one finds evolutionary biologists positing cognitive processes that could not possibly solve the adaptive problem under consideration, psychologists proposing psychological mechanisms that could never have evolved, and anthropologists making implicit assumptions about the human mind that are known to be false. The behavioral and social sciences borrowed the idea of hypothesis testing and quantitative methodology from the natural sciences but unfortunately not the idea of conceptual integration. Yet to propose a psychological concept that is incompatible with evolutionary biology is as problematic as proposing a chemical reaction that violates the laws of physics. A social science theory that is incompatible with known psychology is as dubious as a neurophysiological theory that requires an impossible biochemistry. Nevertheless, theories in the behavioral and social sciences are rarely evaluated on the grounds of conceptual integration and multidisciplinary, multilevel compatibility.

White (1949), Wilson and Daly (1992), and Young (1958). This section is taken from Cosmides, Tooby, and Barkow (1992).

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Evolutionary psychology provides a conceptually integrated approach to the behavioral and social sciences. It links evolutionary biology to psychology and psychology to culture – a process that naturally entails consistency across fields. The central premise of evolutionary psychology is that there is a universal human nature, but that this universality exists primarily at the level of evolved psychological mechanisms, not of expressed cultural behaviors. On this view, cultural variability is not a challenge to claims of universality but rather data that can give one insight into the structure of the psychological mechanisms that helped generate it. A second premise is that these evolved psychological mechanisms are adaptations, constructed by natural selection over evolutionary time. A third assumption is that the evolved structure of the human mind is adapted to the way of life of Pleistocene hunter-gatherers, and not necessarily to our modern circumstances. What we think of as all of human history  – from, say, the rise of the Shang, Minoan, Egyptian, Indian, and Sumerian civilizations – and everything we take for granted as normal parts of life – agriculture, pastoralism, governments, police, sanitation, medical care, education, armies, transportation, and so on – are all the novel products of the last few thousand years. In contrast to this, our ancestors spent the last 2 million years as Pleistocene hunter-gatherers, and, of course, several hundred million years before that as one kind of forager or another. These relative spans are important because they establish which set of environments and conditions defined the adaptive problems the mind was shaped to cope with: Pleistocene conditions, rather than modem conditions. This conclusion stems from the fact that the evolution of complex design is a slow process when contrasted with historical time. Complex, functionally integrated designs like the vertebrate eye are built up slowly, change by change, and subject to the constraint that each new design feature must solve a problem that affects reproduction better than the previous design. The few thousand years since the scattered appearance of agriculture is only a small stretch in evolutionary terms, less than l% of the two million years our ancestors spent as Pleistocene hunter-gatherers. For this reason, it is unlikely that new complex designs – ones requiring the coordinated assembly of many novel, functionally integrated features – could evolve in so few generations. Therefore, it is improbable that our species evolved complex adaptations even to agriculture, let alone to postindustrial society. Moreover, the available evidence strongly supports this view of a single, universal panhuman design, stemming from our long-enduring existence as hunter-gatherers. If selection had constructed complex new adaptations rapidly over historical time, then populations that have been agricultural for several thousand years would differ sharply in their evolved architecture from populations that until recently practiced hunting and gathering. They do not. Accordingly, the most reasonable default assumption is that the interesting, complex functional design features of the human mind evolved in response to the demands of a hunting and gathering way of life. Specifically, this means that in relating the design of mechanisms of the mind to the task demands posed by the world, “the world” means the Pleistocene world of hunter-gatherers. That is, in considering issues of functionality, behavioral scientists need to be familiar with how foraging people lived. We cannot rely on intuitions honed by our everyday


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experiences in the modern world. Finally, it is important to recognize that behavior generated by mechanisms that are adaptations to an ancient way of life will not necessarily be adaptive in the modern world. Thus, the concern evolutionary psychology is with adaptations – mechanisms that evolved by natural selection – and not with modern day adaptiveness. Evolutionary psychology focuses on adaptive problems that our hunter-gatherer ancestors would have faced, a problem that affected reproduction, however distally, such as finding mates, parenting, choosing an appropriate habitat, cooperating, communicating, foraging, or recovering information through vision. It considers three questions: (1) what selection pressures are most relevant to understanding the adaptive problem under consideration?; (2) what psychological mechanisms have evolved to solve that adaptive problem?; and (3) what is the relationship between the structure of these psychological mechanisms and human culture? These three questions are important because there are interesting causal relationships between selection pressures and psychological mechanisms on the one hand and between psychological mechanisms and cultural forms on the other. There is now a rich literature in evolutionary biology and paleoanthropology that allows one to develop useful models of selection pressures, and there have been for many decades in anthropology, sociology, and other social sciences rich descriptions of social and cultural phenomena. Using the above three questions, evolutionary psychology intends to supply the missing middle: the psychological mechanisms that come between theories of selection pressures on the one hand and fully realized sociocultural behavior on the other. By concentrating on evolved mechanisms, evolutionary psychology represents a departure from both traditional anthropology and various evolutionarily inspired theories of culture and behavior. Although both of these fields recognize that culture and cultural change depend critically upon the transmission and generation of information, they have frequently ignored what should be the causal core of their field: the study of the evolved information-­ processing mechanisms that allow humans to absorb, generate, modify, and transmit culture – the psychological mechanisms that take cultural information as input and generate behavior as output. The goal of evolutionary psychology is to focus on these mechanisms in order to see where a more precise understanding of their structure will lead. Because an evolutionary perspective suggests that there will be a close functional mesh between adaptive problems and the design features of the mechanisms that evolved to solve them, evolutionary psychology focuses on adaptive problems and discusses what kind of psychological mechanisms one might expect natural selection to have produced to solve that problem. Evidence from the literatures of psychology, anthropology, and evolutionary biology are brought to bear on these hypotheses whenever possible. Evolutionary psychology also addresses implications that the psychological mechanisms have for culture. The relationship between psychology and culture can be complex. In the interests of conceptual integration, evolutionary psychology, insofar as it is possible, brings data from cross-cultural studies to bear on their psychological hypotheses, to point out when the psychological mechanisms can be expected to cause variation or uniformity in practices,

1  Functionalist View


p­ references, or modes of reasoning across cultures, or to discuss what implications the psychological mechanisms concerned might have for various theories of cultural change. Evolutionary psychology is psychology informed by the fact that the inherited architecture of the human mind is the product of the evolutionary process. It is a conceptually integrated approach in which theories of selection pressures are used to generate hypotheses about the design features of the human mind and in which our knowledge of psychological and behavioral phenomena can be organized and augmented by placing them in their functional context. Evolutionary psychologists expect to find a functional mesh between adaptive problems and the structure of the mechanisms that evolved to solve them. Moreover, every psychological theory  – even the most doctrinally “anti-nativist” – carries with it implicit or explicit evolutionary hypotheses. By making these hypotheses explicit, one can evaluate whether psychological theories are consistent with evolutionary biology and paleoanthropology and, if not, investigate which field needs to make changes. There are various languages within psychology for describing the structure of a psychological mechanism, and many evolutionary psychologists take advantage of the new descriptive precision made possible by cognitive science. Any system that processes information can be described in at least two different, mutually compatible and complementary ways. If asked to describe the behavior of a computer, for example, one could characterize the ways in which its physical components interact – how electrons flow through circuits on chips. Alternatively, one could characterize the programs that the system runs – what kind of information the computer takes as input, what rules or algorithms it uses to transform that information, what kinds of data structures (representations) those rules operate on, and what kinds of output it generates. Naturally, programs run by virtue of the physical machine in which they are embodied, but an information-processing description neither reduces to nor can replace a physical description and vice versa. Consider the text-editing program “Wordstar.” Even though it can run on a variety of different hardware architectures, it always has the same functional design – the same key strokes will delete a line, move a block of text, or print out your file. It processes information in the same way no matter what kind of hardware it is running on. Without an information-­processing description of Wordstar, you will not know how to use it or what it does, even if you are intimately acquainted with the hardware in which it is embodied. A physical description cannot tell one what the computer was designed to do; an information-processing description cannot tell one the physical processes by virtue of which the programs are run. In psychology, it has become common to describe a brain as a system that processes information – a computer made out of organic compounds rather than silicon chips. The brain takes sensory- derived information from the environment as input, performs complex transformations on that information, and produces either data structures (representations) or behavior as output. Consequently, it, too, can be described in two mutually compatible and complementary ways. A neuroscience description characterizes the ways in which its physical components interact; a cognitive, or information-processing, description characterizes the “programs” that


2  Culture: Four Paradigmatic Views

govern its operation. In cognitive psychology, the term mind is used to refer to an information-processing description of the functioning of the brain, and not in any colloquial sense. Behavioral descriptions can be illuminating, but manifest behavior is so variable that descriptions that capture and explain this variability inevitably require an explication of the psychological mechanisms and environmental conditions that generate it. An account of the evolution of the mind is an account of how and why the information- processing organization of the nervous system came to have the functional properties that it does. Information-processing language – the language of cognitive psychology – is simply a way of getting specific about what, exactly, a psychological mechanism does. In evolutionary psychology, most psychological mechanisms are described in information-processing terms, either explicitly or implicitly. Researchers in evolutionary psychology attempt to develop hypotheses about the exact nature of the rules and representations involved. They focus on the kinds of questions that will allow such hypotheses to be developed, questions such as the following: What kinds of information are available in the environment for a psychological mechanism designed for habitat selection, or mate selection, or parenting to use? Is there evidence that this information is used? If so, how is it evaluated? What kinds of affective reactions does it generate? How do people reason about this information? What information do they find memorable? What kinds of information are easy to learn? What kinds of decision rules guide human behavior? What kinds of cross-cultural patterns will these mechanisms produce? What kinds of information will they cause to be socially transmitted? Darwin provided a naturalistic explanation for the design features of organisms, including the properties of the minds of animals, not excepting humans. He wanted to explain how complex functional design could emerge in species spontaneously, without the intervention of an intelligent artificer, such as a divine creator. Darwin’s explanation – natural selection – provides an elegant causal account of the relationship between adaptive problems and the design features of organisms. An adaptive problem is a problem whose solution can affect reproduction, however distally. Avoiding predation, choosing nutritious foods, finding a mate, and communicating with others are examples of adaptive problems that our hominid ancestors would have faced. In Darwin’s natural selection, the organism’s interaction with the environment – with “nature” – sets up a feedback process whereby nature “selects” one design over another, depending on how well it solves an adaptive problem (a problem that affects reproduction). Natural selection can generate complex designs that are functionally organized – organized so that they can solve an adaptive problem – because the criterion for the selection of each design feature is functional: A design feature will spread only if it solves an adaptive problem better than existing alternatives. Over time, this causal feedback process can create designs that solve adaptive problems well  – designs that “fit” the environment in which the species evolved. Evolution by natural selection is the only presently validated explanation for the accumulation of functional design features across generations.

2  Interpretive View


The field of evolutionary psychology attempts to take advantage of Darwin’s crucial insight that there should be a functional mesh between the design features of organisms and the adaptive problems that they had to solve in the environment in which they evolved. By understanding the selection pressures that our hominid ancestors faced  – by understanding what kind of adaptive problems they had to solve – one should be able to gain some insight into the design of the information-­ processing mechanisms that evolved to solve these problems. In doing so, one can begin to understand the processes that underlie cultural phenomena as well.

2  Interpretive View The concept of culture is essentially a semiotic one. Man is an animal suspended in webs of significance he himself has spun. Culture is taken to be those webs and the analysis of it to be therefore not an experimental science in search of law but an interpretive one in search of meaning. Efforts are directed toward explication, construing social expressions on their surface enigmatical. But this pronouncement, a doctrine in a clause, demands itself some explication.2 In anthropology, or social anthropology, what the practitioners do is ethnography. And it is in understanding what doing ethnography is that a start can be made toward grasping what anthropological analysis amounts to as a form of knowledge. This is not a matter of methods. From one point of view, that of the textbook, doing ethnography is establishing rapport, selecting informants, transcribing texts, taking genealogies, mapping fields, keeping a diary, and so on. But it is not these things (i.e., techniques and received procedures) that define the enterprise. What defines it is the kind of intellectual effort it is: an elaborate venture in “thick description.” Much goes into ethnographic description of even the most elemental sort – how extraordinarily “thick” it is. In finished anthropological writings, this fact  – that what we call our data are really our own constructions of other people’s constructions of what they and their compatriots are up to – is obscured because most of what we need to comprehend, a particular event, ritual, custom, idea, or whatever, is insinuated as background information before the thing itself is directly examined. There is nothing particularly wrong with this, and it is in any case inevitable. But it does lead to a view of anthropological research as rather more of an observational and rather less of an interpretive activity than it really is. Right down at the factual 2  For this literature, see Alexander (2003), Alexander and Seidman (1990), Banks (2007), Barker (2012), Bonnell and Hunt (1999), Bowman (2003), Denzau and North (1994), Dilthey (1976), Featherstone (1992), Gadamer (1975), Geertz (1973), Goffman (1975), Griswold (1994), Hall (2001), Hart (1992), Haskell and Teichgraeber (1996), Heidegger (1952), Held and McGrew (2002), Herskovits (1955), Husserl (1931), Kimmel (2006), Kroeber and Kluckhohn (1952), Lee (1959), Lewis (2002), Mayhew (1987), Moore (2012), Munch and Smelser (1992), Pitts (1964), Rojot (2008), Smircich (1983), Steinmetz (1999), Storey (2012), Swidler (1986), Thompson, Ellis, and Wildavsky (1990), Thompson, Grendstad, and Selle (1999), Walzer (1965), Weber (1930, 1946, 1949), and Zald (1996). This section is taken from Geertz (1973).


2  Culture: Four Paradigmatic Views

base, the hard rock, insofar as there is any, of the whole enterprise, we are already explicating, and worse, explicating explications. Analysis, then, is sorting out the structures of signification and determining their social ground and import. The point is that ethnography is thick description. What the ethnographer is in fact faced with – except when he is pursuing the more automatized routines of data collection – is a multiplicity of complex conceptual structures, many of them superimposed upon or knotted into one another, which are at once strange, irregular, and inexplicit, and which he must contrive somehow first to grasp and then to render. And this is true at the most down to earth, jungle field work levels of his activity: interviewing informants, observing rituals, eliciting kin terms, tracing property lines, censusing households, and writing his journal. Doing ethnography is like trying to read (in the sense of “construct a reading of”) a manuscript – foreign, faded, full of ellipses, incoherencies, suspicious emendations, and tendentious commentaries but written not in conventionalized graphs of sound but in transient examples of shaped behavior. Culture is public because meaning is. Though ideational, it does not exist in someone’s head; though unphysical, it is not an occult entity. The interminable debate within anthropology as to whether culture is “subjective” or “objective,” together with the mutual exchange of intellectual insults (“idealist!”,“materialist!”; “mentalist!”,“behaviorist!”; “impressionist!”,“positivist!”) which accompanies it, is wholly misconceived. Once human behavior is seen as symbolic action  – action which, like phonation in speech, pigment in painting, line in writing, or sonance in music, signifies – the question as to whether culture is patterned conduct or a frame of mind, or even the two somehow mixed together, loses sense. The thing to ask about cultural phenomena is not what their ontological status is. It is the same as that of rocks on the one hand and dreams on the other – they are things of this world. The thing to ask is what their import is: what it is, ridicule or challenge, irony or anger, snobbery or pride, that, in their occurrence and through their agency, is getting said. Finding our feet, an unnerving business which never more than distantly succeeds, is what ethnographic research consists of as a personal experience; trying to formulate the basis on which one imagines, always excessively, one has found them is what anthropological writing consists of as a scientific endeavor. We are not seeking either to become natives (a compromised word in any case) or to mimic them. Only romantics or spies would seem to find point in that. We are seeking, in the widened sense of the term in which it encompasses very much more than talk, to converse with them, a matter a great deal more difficult, and not only with strangers, than is commonly recognized. Looked at in this way, the aim of anthropology is the enlargement of the universe of human discourse. That is not, of course, its only aim – instruction, amusement, practical counsel, moral advance, and the discovery of natural order in human behavior are others; nor is anthropology the only discipline which pursues it. But it is an aim to which a semiotic concept of culture is peculiarly well adapted. As interworked systems of construable signs (what, ignoring provincial usages, is called symbols), culture is not a power, something to which social events, behaviors,

2  Interpretive View


i­ nstitutions, or processes can be causally attributed; it is a context, something within which they can be intelligibly – that is, thickly – described. The famous anthropological absorption with the exotic is, thus, essentially a device for displacing the dulling sense of familiarity with which the mysteriousness of our own ability to relate perceptively to one another is concealed from us. Looking at the ordinary in places where it takes unaccustomed forms brings out not, as has so often been claimed, the arbitrariness of human behavior, but the degree to which its meaning varies according to the pattern of life by which it is informed. Understanding a people’s culture exposes their normalness without reducing their particularity. (The more I manage to follow what the Moroccans are up to, the more logical, and the more singular, they seem.) It renders them accessible: setting them in the frame of their own banalities, it dissolves their opacity. It is this maneuver, usually too casually referred to as “seeing things from the actor’s point of view,” too bookishly as “the Verstehen approach,” or too technically as “emic analysis,” that so often leads to the notion that anthropology is a variety of either long-distance mind reading or cannibal-isle fantasizing, and which, for someone anxious to navigate past the wrecks of a dozen sunken philosophies, must therefore be executed with a great deal of care. Nothing is more necessary to comprehending what anthropological interpretation is, and the degree to which it is interpretation, than an exact understanding of what it means – and what it does not mean – to say that our formulations of other peoples’ symbol systems must be actor oriented. What it means is that descriptions of Berber, Jewish, or French culture must be cast in terms of the constructions we imagine Berbers, Jews, or Frenchmen to place upon what they live through, the formulae they use to define what happens to them. What it does not mean is that such descriptions are themselves Berber, Jewish, or French – that is, part of the reality they are ostensibly describing; they are anthropological – that is, part of a developing system of scientific analysis. They must be cast in terms of the interpretations to which persons of a particular denomination subject their experience, because that is what they profess to be descriptions of; they are anthropological because it is, in fact, anthropologists who profess them. Normally, it is not necessary to point out quite so laboriously that the object of study is one thing and the study of it another. It is clear enough that the physical world is not physics and A Skeleton Key to Finnegans Wake not “Finnegan’s Wake.” But, as, in the study of culture, analysis penetrates into the very body of the object – that is, we begin with our own interpretations of what our informants are up to, or think they are up to, and then systematize those – the line between (Moroccan) culture as a natural fact and (Moroccan) culture as a theoretical entity tends to get blurred. All the more so, as the latter is presented in the form of an actor’s eye description of (Moroccan) conceptions of everything from violence, honor, divinity, and justice, to tribe, property, patronage, and chiefship. In short, anthropological writings are themselves interpretations and second and third order ones to boot. (By definition, only a “native” makes first order ones: it’s his culture.) They are, thus, fictions; fictions, in the sense that they are “something made,” “something fashioned” – the original meaning of “fictio” – not that they are


2  Culture: Four Paradigmatic Views

false, unfactual, or merely “as if” thought experiments. To construct actor-oriented descriptions of the involvements of a Berber chieftain, a Jewish merchant, and a French soldier with one another in 1912 Morocco is clearly an imaginative act, not all that different from constructing similar descriptions of, say, the involvements with one another of a provincial French doctor, his silly, adulterous wife, and her feckless lover in nineteenth century France. In the latter case, the actors are represented as not having existed and the events as not having happened, while in the former, they are represented as actual, or as having been so. This is a difference of no mean importance. The conditions of their creation and the point of it (to say nothing of the manner and the quality) differ. But the one is as much a “fictio” – “a making” – as the other. Anthropologists have not always been as aware as they might be of this fact: that although culture exists in the trading post, the hill fort, or the sheep run, anthropology exists in the book, the article, the lecture, the museum display, or, sometimes nowadays, the film. To become aware of it is to realize that the line between mode of representation and substantive content is as undrawable in cultural analysis as it is in painting, and that fact in turn seems to threaten the objective status of anthropological knowledge by suggesting that its source is not social reality but scholarly artifice. It does threaten it, but the threat is hollow. The claim to attention of an ethnographic account does not rest on its author’s ability to capture primitive facts in faraway places and carry them home like a mask or a carving but on the degree to which he is able to clarify what goes on in such places, to reduce the puzzlement – what manner of men are these? – to which unfamiliar acts emerging out of unknown backgrounds naturally give rise. This raises some serious problems of verification (or “appraisal”) of how you can tell a better account from a worse one. But that is precisely the virtue of it. If ethnography is thick description and ethnographers those who are doing the describing, then the determining question for any given example of it is whether it sorts winks from twitches and real winks from mimicked ones. It is not against a body of uninterpreted data, radically thinned descriptions, that we must measure the cogency of our explications, but against the power of the scientific imagination to bring us into touch with the lives of strangers. There are four characteristics of ethnographic description: it is interpretive; what it is interpretive of is the flow of social discourse; the interpreting involved consists in trying to rescue the “said” of such discourse from its perishing occasions and fix it in perusable terms; and such description is microscopic. There are a number of characteristics of cultural interpretation which make the theoretical development of it more than usually difficult. The first is the need for theory to stay rather closer to the ground than tends to be the case in sciences more able to give themselves over to imaginative abstraction. Only short flights of ratiocination tend to be effective in anthropology; longer ones tend to drift off into logical dreams, academic bemusements with formal symmetry. The whole point of a semiotic approach to culture is to aid us in gaining access to the conceptual world in which our subjects live so that we can, in some extended sense of the term, converse with them. The tension between the pull of this need to penetrate an unfamiliar

2  Interpretive View


universe of symbolic action and the requirements of technical advance in the theory of culture, between the need to grasp and the need to analyze, is, as a result, both necessarily great and essentially irremovable. Indeed, the further theoretical development goes the deeper the tension gets. This is the first condition for cultural theory: it is not its own master. As it is unseverable from the immediacies thick description presents, its freedom to shape itself in terms of its internal logic is rather limited. What generality it contrives to achieve grows out of the delicacy of its distinctions, not the sweep of its abstractions. And from this follows a peculiarity in the way, as a simple matter of empirical fact, our knowledge of culture . . . cultures . . . a culture . . . grows: in spurts. Rather than following a rising curve of cumulative findings, cultural analysis breaks up into a disconnected yet coherent sequence of bolder and bolder sorties. Studies do build on other studies, not in the sense that they take up where the others leave off, but in the sense that, better informed and better conceptualized, they plunge more deeply into the same things. Every serious cultural analysis starts from a sheer beginning and ends where it manages to get before exhausting its intellectual impulse. Previously discovered facts are mobilized, previously developed concepts used, and previously formulated hypotheses tried out, but the movement is not from already proven theorems to newly proven ones, it is from an awkward fumbling for the most elementary understanding to a supported claim that one has achieved that and surpassed it. A study is an advance if it is more incisive – whatever that may mean – than those that preceded it, but it less stands on their shoulders than, challenged and challenging, runs by their side. It is for this reason, among others, that the essay, whether of 30 pages or 300, has seemed the natural genre in which to present cultural interpretations and the theories sustaining them, and why, if one looks for systematic treatises in the field, one is so soon disappointed, the more so if one finds any. Even inventory articles are rare here and anyway of hardly more than bibliographical interest. The major theoretical contributions not only lie in specific studies – that is true in almost any field – but they are very difficult to abstract from such studies and integrate into anything one might call “culture theory” as such. Theoretical formulations hover so low over the interpretations they govern that they don’t make much sense or hold much interest apart from them. This is so, not because they are not general (if they are not general, they are not theoretical), but because, stated independently of their applications, they seem either commonplace or vacant. One can, and this in fact is how the field progresses conceptually, take a line of theoretical attack developed in connection with one exercise in ethnographic interpretation and employ it in another, pushing it forward to greater precision and broader relevance, but one cannot write a “General Theory of Cultural Interpretation.” Or, rather, one can, but there appears to be little profit in it, because the essential task of theory building here is not to codify abstract regularities but to make thick description possible, not to generalize across cases but to generalize within them. To generalize within cases is usually called, at least in medicine and depth psychology, clinical inference. Rather than beginning with a set of observations and attempting to subsume them under a governing law, such inference begins with a set


2  Culture: Four Paradigmatic Views

of (presumptive) signifiers and attempts to place them within an intelligible frame. Measures are matched to theoretical predictions, but symptoms (even when they are measured) are scanned for theoretical peculiarities – that is, they are diagnosed. In the study of culture, the signifiers are not symptoms or clusters of symptoms but symbolic acts or clusters of symbolic acts, and the aim is not therapy but the analysis of social discourse. But the way in which theory is used – to ferret out the unapparent import of things – is the same. Thus we are led to the second condition of cultural theory: it is not, at least in the strict meaning of the term, predictive. The diagnostician doesn’t predict measles; he decides that someone has them or at the very most anticipates that someone is rather likely shortly to get them. But this limitation, which is real enough, has commonly been both misunderstood and exaggerated, because it has been taken to mean that cultural interpretation is merely post facto: that, like the peasant in the old story, we first shoot the holes in the fence and then paint the bull’s eyes around them. It is hardly to be denied that there is a good deal of that sort of thing around, some of it in prominent places. It is to be denied, however, that it is the inevitable outcome of a clinical approach to the use of theory. But theory has also to survive – intellectually survive – realities to come. Although we formulate our interpretation of a phenomenon, the theoretical framework in terms of which such an interpretation is made must be capable of continuing to yield defensible interpretations as new social phenomena swim into view. It is in such a manner that theory operates in anthropology. A repertoire of very general, made-in-the-academy concepts and systems of concepts  – “integration,” “rationalization,” “symbol,” “ideology,” “ethos,” “revolution,” “identity,” “metaphor,” “structure,” “ritual,” “world view,” “actor,” “function,” “sacred,” and, of course, “culture” itself – is woven into the body of thick-description ethnography in the hope of rendering mere occurrences scientifically eloquent. The aim is to draw large conclusions from small but very densely textured facts, to support broad assertions about the role of culture in the construction of collective life by engaging them exactly with complex specifics.

3  Radical Humanist View The term “culture industry” is used in place of “mass culture” in order to exclude from the outset the interpretation agreeable to its advocates: that it is a matter of something like a culture that arises spontaneously from the masses themselves, the contemporary form of popular art. From the latter, the culture industry must be distinguished in the extreme. The culture industry fuses the old and familiar into a new quality. In all its branches, products which are tailored for consumption by masses, and which to a great extent determine the nature of that consumption, are manufactured more or less according to plan. The individual branches are similar in structure or at least fit into each other, ordering themselves into a system almost without a gap. This is made possible by contemporary technical capabilities as well as by

3  Radical Humanist View


economic and administrative concentration. The culture industry intentionally integrates its consumers from above. To the detriment of both, it forces together the spheres of high and low art, separated for thousands of years. The seriousness of high art is destroyed in speculation about its efficacy; the seriousness of the lower perishes with the civilizational constraints imposed on the rebellious resistance inherent within it as long as social control was not yet total. Thus, although the culture industry undeniably speculates on the conscious and unconscious state of the millions toward which it is directed, the masses are not primary, but secondary; they are an object of calculation, an appendage of the machinery. The customer is not king, as the culture industry would like to have us believe, not its subject but its object. The very word “mass media,” specially honed for the culture industry, already shifts the accent onto harmless terrain. Neither is it a question of primary concern for the masses, nor of the techniques of communication as such, but of the spirit which sufflates them, their master’s voice. The culture industry misuses its concern for the masses in order to duplicate, reinforce, and strengthen their mentality, which it presumes is given and unchangeable. How this mentality might be changed is excluded throughout. The masses are not the measure, but the ideology of the culture industry, even though the culture industry itself could scarcely exist without adapting to the masses.3 The cultural commodities of the industry are governed by the principle of their realization as value, and not by their own specific content and harmonious formation. The entire practice of the culture industry transfers the profit motive naked onto cultural forms. Ever since these cultural forms first began to make a living for their creators as commodities in the marketplace, they had already possessed something of this quality. But then they sought after profit only indirectly, over and above their autonomous essence. New on the part of the culture industry is the direct and undisguised primacy of a precisely and thoroughly calculated efficacy in its most typical products. The autonomy of works of art, which of course rarely ever predominated in an entirely pure form, and was always permeated by a constellation of effects, is tendentially eliminated by the culture industry, with or without the conscious will of those in control. The latter include both those who carry out directives and those who hold the power. In economic terms, they are or were in search of new opportunities for the realization of capital in the most economically developed  For this literature, see Adorno (1975, 1994), Agger (1992), Alexander and Seidman (1990), Barker (2012), Bernstein (1991), Bourdieu (1968), Bourdieu and Passeron (2000), Bowman (2007), Brenkman (1985), Cavallaro (2001), Craig (1975), Dupre (1983), Featherstone (1995), Foucault (1979), Fowler (1997), Gartman (2013), Gibson (1986), Gouldner (1976), Gramsci (1971), Guha and Chakravorty-Spivak (1988), Habermas (1981, 1984), Hall (2001), Hall (1978, 1980, 1992), Hall and Du Gay (1996), Hall, Lumley, and McLennan (1978), Held (1980), Held and McGrew (2002), Horkheimer and Adorno (1944), Jameson (1984, 1993), Kellner (1995, 2001), Lang and Williams (1972), Lewis (2002), Lyotard (1984), Marcuse (1964), McGowan (2007), Nelson and Grossberg (1988), Osborne (2008), Said (1978, 1993), Scott (1990), Sennett (2006), Sherwood, Smith, and Alexander (1993), Solomon (1973), Storey (2012), Tansey (2004), Thompson (1963), Thompson (1990), Wiatr (1989), Williams (1958, 1980), and Willis (1979). This section is taken from Adorno (1975). 3


2  Culture: Four Paradigmatic Views

countries. The old opportunities became increasingly precarious as a result of the same concentration process which alone makes the culture industry possible as an omnipresent phenomenon. Culture, in the true sense, did not simply accommodate itself to human beings, but it always simultaneously raised a protest against the petrified relations under which they lived, thereby honoring them. Insofar as culture becomes wholly assimilated to and integrated in those petrified relations, human beings are once more debased. Cultural entities typical of the culture industry are no longer also commodities; they are commodities through and through. This quantitative shift is so great that it calls forth entirely new phenomena. Ultimately, the culture industry no longer even needs to directly pursue everywhere the profit interests from which it originated. These interests have become objectified in its ideology and have even made themselves independent of the compulsion to sell the cultural commodities which must be swallowed anyway. The culture industry turns into public relations, the manufacturing of “good will” per se, without regard for particular firms or saleable objects. Brought to bear is a general uncritical consensus, advertisements produced for the world, so that each product of the culture industry becomes its own advertisement Nevertheless, those characteristics which originally stamped the transformation of literature into a commodity are maintained in this process. More than anything in the world, the culture industry has its ontology, a scaffolding of rigidly conservative basic categories which can be gleaned, for example, from the commercial English novels of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. What parades as progress in the culture industry, as the incessantly new which it offers up, remains the disguise for an eternal sameness; everywhere the changes mask a skeleton which has changed just as little as the profit motive itself since the time it first gained its predominance over culture. Thus, the expression “industry” is not to be taken literally. It refers to the standardization of the thing itself – such as that of the Western, familiar to every moviegoer – and to the rationalization of distribution techniques, but not strictly to the production process. Although in film, the central sector of the culture industry, the production process, resembles technical modes of operation in the extensive division of labor, the employment of machines, and the separation of the laborers from the means of production – expressed in the perennial conflict between artists active in the culture industry and those who control it – individual forms of production are nevertheless maintained. Each product affects an individual air; individuality itself serves to reinforce ideology, insofar as the illusion is conjured up that the completely reified and mediated is a sanctuary from immediacy and life. Now, as ever, the culture industry exists in the “service” of third persons, maintaining its affinity to the declining circulation process of capital, to the commerce from which it came into being. Its ideology above all makes use of the star system, borrowed from individualistic art and its commercial exploitation. The more dehumanized its methods of operation and content, the more diligently and successfully the culture industry propagates supposedly great personalities and operates with heartthrobs. It is industrial more in a sociological sense, in the incorporation of industrial forms of organization even where nothing is manufactured  – as in the rationalization of office

3  Radical Humanist View


work – rather than in the sense of anything really and actually produced by technological rationality. Accordingly, the misinvestments of the culture industry are considerable, throwing those branches rendered obsolete by new techniques into crises, which seldom lead to changes for the better. The concept of technique in the culture industry is only in name identical with technique in works of art. In the latter, technique is concerned with the internal organization of the object itself, with its inner logic. In contrast, the technique of the culture industry is, from the beginning, one of distribution and mechanical reproduction, and therefore always remains external to its object. The culture industry finds ideological support precisely insofar as it carefully shields itself from the full potential of the techniques contained in its products. It lives parasitically from the extra-artistic technique of the material production of goods, without regard for the obligation to the internal artistic whole implied by its functionality (“Sachlichkeit”) but also with concern for the laws of form demanded by aesthetic autonomy. The result for the physiognomy of the culture industry is essentially a mixture of streamlining, photographic hardness, and precision on the one hand, and individualistic residues, sentimentality, and an already rationally disposed and adapted romanticism on the other. If the traditional work of art is designated by the concept of aura, the presence of that which is not present, the culture industry is defined by the fact that it does not strictly counterpose another principle to that of aura but rather by the fact that it conserves the decaying aura as a foggy mist. By this means, the culture industry betrays its own ideological abuses. It has recently become customary among cultural officials as well as sociologists to warn against underestimating the culture industry while pointing to its great importance for the development of the consciousness of its consumers. It is to be taken seriously, without cultured snobbism. In actuality, the culture industry is important as a moment of the spirit which dominates today. Whoever ignores its influence out of skepticism for what it stuffs into people would be naive. Yet there is a deceptive glitter about the admonition to take it seriously. Because of its social role, disturbing questions about its quality about truth or untruth, and about the aesthetic niveau of the culture industry’s emissions are repressed, or at least excluded from the so-called sociology of communications. The critic is accused of taking refuge in arrogant esoterica. It would be advisable first to indicate the double meaning of importance that slowly worms its way in unnoticed. Even if it touches the lives of innumerable people, the function of something is no guarantee of its particular quality. The blending of aesthetics with its residual communicative aspects leads art, as a social phenomenon, not to its rightful position in opposition to alleged artistic snobbism, but rather in a variety of ways to the defense of its baneful social consequences. The importance of the culture industry in the spiritual constitution of the masses is no dispensation for reflection on its objective legitimation, its essential being, least of all by a science which thinks itself pragmatic. On the contrary, such reflection becomes necessary precisely for this reason. To take the culture industry as seriously as its unquestioned role, demands means to take it seriously critically and not to cower in the face of its monopolistic character.


2  Culture: Four Paradigmatic Views

Among those intellectuals anxious to reconcile themselves with the phenomenon and eager to find a common formula to express both their reservations against it and their respect for its power, a tone of ironic toleration prevails unless they have already created a new mythos of the twentieth century from the imposed regression. After all, those intellectuals maintain, everyone knows what pocket novels, films off the rack, family television shows rolled out into serials and hit parades, advice to the lovelorn, and horoscope columns are all about. All of this, however, is harmless and, according to them, even democratic since it responds to a demand, albeit a stimulated one. It also bestows all kinds of blessings; they point out, for example, through the assimilation of information, advice, and stress reducing patterns of behavior. Of course, as every sociological study measuring something as elementary as how politically informed the public is has proven, the formation is meager or indifferent. Moreover, the advice to be gained from manifestations of the culture industry is vacuous, banal, or worse, and the behavior patterns are shamelessly conformist. The two-faced irony in the relationship of servile individuals to the culture industry is not restricted to them alone. It may also be supposed that the consciousness of the consumers themselves is split between the prescribed fun such as is supplied to them by the culture industry and a not particularly well-hidden doubt about its blessings. The phrase, the world wants to be deceived, becomes truer than had ever been intended. People are not only, as the saying goes, falling for the swindle; if it guarantees them even the most fleeting gratification, they desire a deception which is nonetheless transparent to them. They force their eyes shut and voice approval, in a kind of self-loathing, for what is meted out to them, knowing fully the purpose for which it is manufactured. Without admitting it, they sense that their lives would be completely intolerable as soon as they no longer clung to satisfactions which are none at all. The most ambitious defense of the culture industry today celebrates its spirit, which might safely be called ideology, as an ordering factor. In a supposedly chaotic world, it provides human beings with something like standards for orientation, and that alone seems worthy of approval. However, what its defenders imagine is preserved by the culture industry is in fact all the more thoroughly destroyed by it. The color film demolishes the genial old tavern to a greater extent than bombs ever could: the film exterminates its imago. No homeland can survive being processed by the films which celebrate it and which thereby turn the unique character on which it thrives into an unchangeable sameness. That which legitimately could be called culture attempted, as an expression of suffering and contradiction, to maintain a grasp on the idea of the good life. Culture cannot represent either that which merely exists or the conventional and no longer binding categories of order which the culture industry drapes over the idea of the good life as if existing reality were the good life and as if those categories were its true measure. If the response of the culture industry’s representatives is that it does not deliver art at all, this is the ideology with which they evade responsibility for that from which the business lives. No misdeed is ever righted by explaining it as such.

3  Radical Humanist View


The appeal to order alone, without concrete specificity, is futile; the appeal to the dissemination of norms, without these ever proving themselves in reality or before consciousness, is equally futile. The idea of an objectively binding order, huckstered to people because it is so lacking for them, has no claims if it does not prove itself internally and in confrontation with human beings. But this is precisely what no product of the culture industry would engage in. The concepts of order which it hammers into human beings are always those of the status quo. They remain unquestioned, unanalyzed, and undialectically presupposed, even if they no longer have any substance for those who accept them. In contrast to the Kantian, the categorical imperative of the culture industry no longer has anything in common with freedom. It proclaims: you shall conform, without instruction as to what; conform to that which exists anyway and to that which everyone thinks anyway as a reflex of its power and omnipresence. The power of the culture industry’s ideology is such that conformity has replaced consciousness. The order that springs from it is never confronted with what it claims to be or with the real interests of human beings. Order, however, is not good in itself. It would be so only as a good order. The fact that the culture industry is oblivious to this and extols order in abstraction bears witness to the impotence and untruth of the messages it conveys. While it claims to lead the perplexed, it deludes them with false conflicts which they are to exchange for their own. It solves conflicts for them only in appearance, in a way that they can hardly be solved in their real lives. In the products of the culture industry, human beings get into trouble only so that they can be rescued unharmed, usually by representatives of a benign collective, and then in empty harmony, they are reconciled with the general, whose demands they had experienced at the outset as irreconcilable with their interests. For this purpose, the culture industry has developed formulas which even reach into such nonconceptual areas as light musical entertainment. Here too one gets into a “jam,” into rhythmic problems, which can be instantly disentangled by the triumph of the basic beat. Even its defenders, however, would hardly contradict Plato openly who maintained that what is objectively and intrinsically untrue cannot also be subjectively good and true for human beings. The connections of the culture industry are neither guides for a blissful life nor a new art of moral responsibility, but rather exhortations to toe the line, behind which stand the most powerful interests. The consensus which it propagates strengthens blind, opaque authority. If the culture industry is measured not by its own substance and logic, but by its efficacy, by its position in reality, and by its explicit pretensions and if the focus of serious concern is with the efficacy to which it always appeals, the potential of its effect becomes twice as weighty. This potential, however, lies in the promotion and exploitation of the ego weakness to which the powerless members of contemporary society, with its concentration of power, are condemned. Their consciousness is further developed retrogressively. It is no coincidence that cynical American film producers are heard to say that their pictures must take into consideration the level of the 11-year-olds. In doing so, they would very much like to make adults into 11-year-olds. It is true that thorough research has not, for the time being, produced an airtight case proving the regressive effects of particular products of the culture industry. No


2  Culture: Four Paradigmatic Views

doubt an imaginatively designed experiment could achieve this more successfully than the powerful financial interests concerned would find comfortable. In any case, it can be assumed without hesitation that steady drops hollow the stone, especially since the system of the culture industry that surrounds the masses tolerates hardly any deviation and incessantly drills the same formulas of behavior. Only their deep unconscious mistrust, the last residue of the difference between art and empirical reality in the spiritual makeup of the masses, explains why they have not, to a person, long since perceived and accepted the world as it is constructed for them by the culture industry. Even if its messages were as harmless as they were made out to be, on countless occasions, they are obviously not harmless. If an astrologer urges his readers to drive carefully on a particular day, that certainly hurts no one; they will, however, be harmed indeed by the stupefication which lies in the claim that advice which is valid every day and which is therefore idiotic needs the approval of the stars. The total effect of the culture industry is one of anti-enlightenment, in which the progressive technical domination of nature, becomes mass deception and is turned into a means for fettering consciousness. It impedes the development of autonomous, independent individuals who judge and decide consciously for themselves. These, however, would be the precondition for a democratic society which needs adults who have come of age in order to sustain itself and develop.

4  Radical Structuralist View There is a need for the elaboration of a political economy of culture. It stems from actual changes in the structure of contemporary capitalism as they effect what has been dubbed “the culture industry” and the relationship of that industry to the state. Symptoms of the urgent political problems raised by these changes can be observed throughout the developed, capitalist world.4 A political economy of culture is necessary because of the dominance of idealism within the analysis of culture, which need to be firmly based within the historical materialist perspective. This involves an ordering of priorities which is both a hierarchy of concrete historical and material determinants in the real world as well as an ordering of research priorities. That is to say, we are faced with the problem of understanding an actual historical process which itself concretely exhibits structurally ordered determinants within which material production is ultimately determinant, which is what makes our theory materialist, while at the same time, there are  For this literature, see Alexander and Seidman (1990), Althusser (1971a, 1971b), Arvon (1973), Barker (2012), Caudwell (1963), Fischer (1963), Garnham (1979), Gartman (2013), Hall (2001), Hannerz (1996), King (1991), Laing (1978), Lewis (2002), Lifshitz (1973), Marx and Engels (1974, 2004), Munch and Smelser (1992), Murdock (1982), Murdock and Golding (1974, 1979a, b), Plekhanov (1957), Ryan (1992), Storey (2012), Tumino (2008), and Wallerstein (1974). This section is taken from Garnham (1979). 4

4  Radical Structuralist View


a limited number of researchers with limited material resources (including time), who must thus choose, from within the complex totality of the historical social process, to examine those aspects of the process which are likely to lead to the clearest understanding of the dynamics of that process and through that understanding to its human control. Our choice is that the problem of subjectivity is of less interest than that of class or capital accumulation. Moreover, one is not asserting that such a hierarchy of historical determinants of research concerns is universal, that there is a theory of culture, but that they correspond to the actual historically specific hierarchy of a particular social formation. That is to say the economic is determinant under capitalism, because capitalism is a mode of social organization characterized by the domination of an abstract system of exchange relations. Further the particular relationship between the abstract and the concrete or between “phenomenal forms” and “real relations” or between ideas and matter, which is appropriate to historical materialism as a mode of analysis of capitalism, stems from the real relation between the abstract (exchange relations) and the concrete (individual lived experience, real labor, etc.) within the social formation itself. In a social formation in which social relations were not abstracted into a relation of exchange, a different theoretical relationship between the abstract and the concrete would hold. Moreover, the abstract should not be opposed to the concrete, just as the phenomenal forms should not be opposed to the real relations. One is precisely a form of the other. That is to say, the exchange relation has a concrete material reality in the form of money, bills of exchange, credit cards, banks, etc., but its mode of operation and with it the reproduction of the capitalist social formation depends upon its abstraction, the fact that it works “behind men’s backs” and thus “can be determined with the precision of natural science.” It can only be determined with such precision so long as it is a supra-individual social process. This is both a methodological and historical postulate. That is to say, the necessary condition for a capitalist social formation is the existence of a more or less universal domination of social relations by the exchange relation, i.e., a market economy. Wherever such domination is challenged (and we do not and never have seen, in this sense, an “ideal” capitalist social formation) by explicit political action, by human will and reason, the logic of capital is challenged. It is for this reason that the state is a necessarily contradictory form. This leads us to the concept of ideology which so dominates the central problem within cultural theory, namely, the base/superstructure relationship. The central postulate of historical materialism is that man as a biological organism must undertake a constant material exchange with nature, and it is this exchange that is named labor. Within history, the labor/nature relationship has become increasingly mediated through specific modes of production, thus making the links more difficult to analyze. Because of this difficulty, the possibility of error and thus of ideology enters. But it remains a material fact that, ultimately, material production in this direct sense is determinate in that it is only the surplus produced by this labor that enables other forms of human activity to be pursued. Thus the superstructure remains dependent upon and determined by the base of material production in that very fundamental sense.


2  Culture: Four Paradigmatic Views

Clearly, the greater the surplus to immediate physical reproductive needs, the greater the autonomy of the superstructure and indeed the greater the possible variation and diversity within superstructural organization, always providing of course that the mode of material production is such as to guarantee the necessary surplus. In this important sense, the superstructure/culture is and remains subordinate and secondary, and the crucial questions are the relationship between, on the one hand, the mode of extraction and distribution of the material surplus, e.g., class relations and, on the other, the allocation of this material surplus within the superstructure, for instance, the problem of public expenditure among others. But while, historically, the superstructure has become more autonomous, there still remain direct, narrow material constraints upon individuals even within developed, industrial societies. Everyone has to eat and sleep and be maintained at a given body temperature in determinate temporal cycles. Thus, every economy is an economy of time, which is why labor time is so crucial an analytical concept. Cultural reproduction is still directly governed by these material determinants in the sense that the time and resources available to those who have to sell their labor power to capital, within labor time constraints largely imposed by capital, remain limited, and they still use the most significant proportion of their available time and material resources in order to ensure material, biological reproduction. It is at this primary level both theoretically and actually that social being determines social consciousness. Thus economism, the concern for immediate physical survival and reproduction within the dominant relations of exchange is an immediate and rational response to the determinants of social being. No political economy of culture can avoid discussion of the base/superstructure relationship, but in so doing, it needs to avoid the twin traps of economic reductionism and of the idealist autonomization of the ideological level. The central problem with the base/superstructure metaphor as with the related culture/society dichotomy is that being a metaphor of polarity, essentially binary in form, it is unable adequately to deal with the number of distinctions that are necessary, in this instance between the material, the economic, and the ideological. These should be seen not as three levels, but as analytically distinct, but coterminous moments both of concrete social practices and of concrete analysis. Furthermore, any political economy needs to hold constantly to the historicity of the specific articulations between these moments. There is a sense in which the base/superstructure metaphor always does imply a notion of expressive totality, a totality in which either the superstructure is expressive of an economic base (under capitalism of a capitalist economic base) or, on the other hand, a tautological sense of expressive totality by which all phenomena of a social formation are expressive of that social formation. That is to say, the notion of expressive totality can be used either deterministically or relationally. The analysis in Marx’s “Capital” is of the latter type. That is to say what is being analyzed is not a social formation in equilibrium but in disequilibrium, an uncompleted at the time Marx wrote, and still incomplete, process of capitalist development, a development which was marked not by the total domination and determinacy of capitalist economic forms, an expressive totality in that sense, but on the contrary by a series of shifting relationships between the economic and other instances each

4  Radical Structuralist View


interacting with the other in a process of uneven and contradictory development, so that the totality of the social formation at any historic moment was only expressive of the actual state of those shifting interrelationships. Thus the pertinence or meaning of any analytical category, such as base and superstructure, expressing as it does a relationship, will shift as the historical reality it is used to explain shifts. Similarly, we could say that the purpose of a political economy of culture is to elucidate what Marx and Engels meant in The German Ideology by “control of the means of mental production” while stressing that the meaning that they gave to the term was quite clearly historical and therefore shifting and was never meant to be frozen into some simple dichotomy as it has so often been in subsequent Marxist writing. The confusion between the material and the economic is common, and it is worth dwelling briefly on the nature of the distinction. It is postulated that any form of extended social relationship depends upon the extraction and distribution of material surplus, and the means by which this is achieved is thus the central determining characteristic of any social formation. Such modes of social production and exchange are cultural, hence the very real problem of making a society/ culture differentiation without narrowing the definition of culture to include only those elements of social interaction which involve a secondary level of abstraction, namely, the representation of concrete, material relations in symbolic forms. Thus we must distinguish two types of form, a social form which is a series of material relations that, insofar as they operate unconsciously, can be abstractly analyzed and determined with the precision of natural science, and a cultural form which, while it entails a material support, is not itself material and which has an essentially mediated relationship with the material reality it represents. Indeed, there is an essential divide between these distinct formal realms, the existence of which allows ideology to enter, because it allows denial and the lie, both of which depend upon a relationship which is not determinant. However, this autonomy is bought at the cost of a loss of real or material effectivity. Cultural forms only become effective when they are translated into social forms which do have material effectivity. Thus there is a constant dialectic at the cultural level between autonomy and effectivity, and it is at the level of social effectivity that material production is ultimately determinant. However, to return to the level of social forms, the economic is a specific historical form of the social relations of production and distribution. It is the form these relations take in a social formation within which commodity exchange is dominant. Thus, it is possible to argue that the economic is superstructural in relation to the material base or structure, that it could in fact be seen as the dominant level of the superstructure. For what Marx argues in “Capital” is that the real historical transition to capitalism involves a move from a system of social relations and domination based upon the direct physical control of landed property and people to one based upon the increasingly indirect control through commodity exchange and, in particular, through the exchange of the commodity of labor power, and that this real historical process is a real process of social abstraction which thus requires appropriate theoretical abstraction for its analysis. It is because the economic is the most abstract


2  Culture: Four Paradigmatic Views

and fundamental form of the social relation within capitalism that it is primary both theoretically and actually but as a historically specific representation of a predeterminate material relationship. It is the real existence of this abstract economic level of extended commodity production that allows for the development of an increasing division of labor and thus for the development of the specific superstructural forms of capitalism. Thus the relative autonomy of the superstructure is a real and increasingly central characteristic of capitalism, but it is itself determined at the level of the economic and ultimately it is a form, at two levels of mediation, of a material relation which also remains determinant in and through the economic. We need to lay stress on and distinguish two distinct but related moments in a historical materialist analysis of intellectual production. (a) Culture as a superstructural phenomenon in relation to noncultural modes of material production, i.e., on the one hand, the dominant or hegemonic cultural production paid for out of capitalist revenue and, on the other, a subordinate working class or oppositional culture paid for out of wages. Cultural production in this sense and its articulations with the sphere of material production involves one specific interpretation of the meaning in The German Ideology of “control of the means of mental production,” i.e., through the direct payment of ideologists and the necessary maintenance of the physical instruments of their ideological production. It is within that analytical perspective that we need to analyze the historical development of the “historically specific needs” of the working class and their sustenance of “organic intellectuals” and of specific instruments of cultural production such as trade unions. (b) Culture as part of material production itself directly subordinate to or at least in a closely determined articulation with the laws of development of capital. This is, both a latter historical phase, part of developing monopoly capitalism, the phenomenon dubbed “the industrialization of culture,” but it also lives alongside the other moment and in specific instances we need to analyze the interrelationship between these two distinct modes of intellectual production within intellectual production (Culture in its narrow sense) in general. In general, it is clear in The German Ideology that, reflecting the contemporary stage of capitalist development, Marx and Engels were concerned with the payment of ideologists, of intellectuals, out of capitalist revenue. That is to say they rightly saw that superstructural activities require a cohort of mental workers who were not directly economically or materially productive and thus whose price of reproduction must be borne by the sphere of material production. Since under capitalism it was capitalists who were extracting this surplus, it was they who could redistribute this surplus into superstructural activities of their choosing and by so doing exert direct economic pressures on the ideologists who were their hired servants. This direct relationship remains important and should not be forgotten. That is to say the working class also developed, out of its wages, a subordinate or counter culture with its own “organic intellectuals” such as paid trade union officials, cooperative organizers, journalists, etc., but the surplus available for this purpose was exiguous both really and comparatively, so that this direct ideological power was decisively weighted in favor of capital and remains so.

4  Radical Structuralist View


There now exists of course, as the division of labor has developed further, a more mediated version of this employment of ideologists out of revenue, namely, the creation of a subordinate fraction of the capitalist class who possess cultural capital. Just as younger sons of the aristocracy went into Church and army, so now a section of the capitalist class occupies key positions in the cultural sector. The class origins of ideological workers remain an important but neglected aspect of media analysis. This does not of course mean that such people necessarily reproduce ruling class ideology. It does mean that there is a structural tendency so to do. The second moment, upon which of course increasingly in the actual historical development the former moment has come to depend, is the actual control by capital within the process of commodity production of the means of cultural production. This moment was clearly underdeveloped at the time when The German Ideology was written, but, while not entirely superseding the other moment, it is this moment that has become crucial for an analysis of cultural reproduction under monopoly capitalism. Within the sphere of cultural production, the development of specifically economic, industrial forms was in part possible precisely because of the effect of the other moment, i.e., working class powers of cultural resistance were weakened. It is in particular on the implications of this second moment that we should also concentrate, i.e., the effects of the imposition of capital logic upon cultural production. There has been a tendency to see such an imposition as ideologically noncontradictory. One must stress at the outset that this is not so. Because capital controls the means of cultural production in the sense that the production and exchange of cultural commodities become the dominant forms of cultural relationship, it does not follow that these cultural commodities will necessarily support, either in their explicit content or in their mode of cultural appropriation, the dominant ideology. It is quite clear in Marx’s analysis of “Capital” that he wished to distinguish firmly between the logic of capital and the intention of individual capitalists, even at the economic, let alone the ideological, level. Since all cultural forms are material in the sense that they take time which will only be available after the needs of physical reproduction are satisfied, the material requirements of the cultural process must be extracted as surplus from direct material production. This can be done by paying for cultural production directly out of revenue. But as Marx remarked of capitalism in general, it has found it more efficient as a means of control to extract surpluses directly by means of economic processes. Thus the developments of the capitalist mode of production and its associated division of mental and manual labor have led to the development of the extraction of the necessary surplus for the maintenance of cultural production and reproduction directly via the commodity and exchange form. Historically the development of the material process known as the superstructure depended upon the availability of a surplus in the sphere of direct material production, i.e., the sphere of the extraction, shaping, and consumption of nature. Historically the shape of that superstructure is determined by the social relations of production, because it is these social relations that determine the distribution of that surplus.


2  Culture: Four Paradigmatic Views

5  Conclusion This chapter briefly discussed four views expressed with respect to culture. The functionalist paradigm believes that culture is determined by psychological consequences of biological development. The interpretive paradigm believes that culture is socially constructed. The radical humanist paradigm believes that culture reflects the preferences of interest groups. The radical structuralist paradigm believes that culture reflects the material reality. Each paradigm is logically coherent – in terms of its underlying assumptions – and conceptualizes and studies the phenomenon in a certain way and generates distinctive kinds of insight and understanding. Therefore, different paradigms in combination provide a broader understanding of the phenomenon under consideration. An understanding of different paradigms leads to a better understanding of the multifaceted nature of the phenomenon.

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Boyd, Robert and Richerson, Peter J., 2005, The Origin and Evolution of Cultures, Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. Brenkman, John, 1985, Culture and Domination, Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press. Caudwell, Christopher, 1963, Illusion and Reality: A Study of the Sources of Poetry, New York, New York: New World. Cavallaro, Dani, 2001, Critical and Cultural Theory: Thematic Variations, New Brunswick, New Jersey: Athlone Press. Cosmides, Leda, Tooby, John, and Barkow, Jerome H., 1992, “Introduction: Evolutionary Psychology and Conceptual Integration,” in Barkow, Jerome H., Cosmides, Leda, and Tooby, John, (eds.), The Adapted Mind: Evolutionary Psychology and the Generation of Culture, New York, New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 3-15. Craig, David, (ed.), 1975, Marxism on Literature: An Anthology, Harmondsworth, England: Penguin Books. Denzau, Arthur T. and North, Douglass C., 1994, “Shared Mental Models: Ideologies and Institutions,” Kyklos, 47:3-31. Dilthey, Wilhelm, 1976, “The Construction of the Historical World in the Human Studies,” in Dilthey, Wilhelm, Selected Writings, London, England: Cambridge University Press. Dunbar, R.I.M. and Barrett, Louise, (eds.), 2007, Oxford Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology, Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. Dupre, Louis, 1983, Marx’s Social Critique of Culture, New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press. Featherstone, Mike, (ed.), 1992, Cultural Theory and Cultural Change, Newbury Park, California: Sage Publications Inc. Featherstone, Mike, 1995, Undoing Culture: Globalization, Postmodernism, and Identity, Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications. Fischer, Ernst, 1963, The Necessity of Art: A Marxist Approach, Baltimore, Maryland: Penguin Books. Foucault, Michel, 1979, Foucault, The History of Sexuality, Volume 1: An Introduction, London, England: Penguin Books. Fowler, Bridget, 1997, Pierre Bourdieu and Cultural Theory: Critical Investigations, Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications. Gadamer, Hans-Georg, 1975, Truth and Method, New York, New York: Crossroads. Garnham, Nicholas, 1979, “Contribution to a Political Economy of Mass Communication,” Media, Culture and Society, 1, 123-146. Gartman, David, 2013, Culture, Class, and Critical Theory: Between Bourdieu and the Frankfurt School, New York, New York: Routledge. Geertz, Clifford, 1973, “Thick Description: Toward an Interpretive Theory of Culture,” in Geertz, Clifford, The Interpretation of Cultures: Selected Essays, New York, New York: Basic Books, Inc., Publishers, Chapter 1, pp. 3-30. Gibson, Rex, 1986, Critical Theory and Education, London, England: Hodder and Stoughton. Goffman, Erving, 1975, Frame Analysis, London, England: Penguin Books. Gouldner, Alvin, 1976, The Dialectic of Ideology and Technology, New York, New York: Seabury Press. Gramsci, Antonio, 1971, Selections from the Prison Notebooks, edited and translated by Quintin Hoare and Geoffrey Nowell Smith, New York, New York: International Publishers, pp. 323-335. Griswold, Wendy, 1994, Cultures and Societies in a Changing World, Thousand Oaks, California: Pine Forge Press. Guha, Ranajit and Chakravorty-Spivak, Gayatri, (eds.), 1988, Selected Subaltern Studies, New York, New York: Oxford University Press. Habermas, Jurgn, 1981, “Modernity versus Postmodernity,” New German Critique, 22, 3-14. Habermas, Jurgen, 1984, The Theory of Communicative Action, Boston, Massachusetts: Beacon. Hall, Donald E., 2001, Literary and Cultural Theory: From Basic Principles to Advanced Applications, Boston, Massachusetts: Cengage Learning.


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Hannerz, Ulf, 1996, Transnational Connections: Culture, People, Places, London, England: Routledge. Harris, Marvin, 1979, Cultural Materialism: The Struggle for a Science of Culture, New York, New York: Random House. Harris, Marvin, 2001, The Rise of Anthropological Theory: A History of Theories of Culture, Walnut Creek, California: AltaMira Press. Hart, Jeffrey A., 1992, Rival Capitalists: International Competitiveness in the United States, Japan, and Western Europe, Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press. Hall, Stuart, 1978, “Marxism and Culture,” Radical History Review, 18, 5-14. Hall, Stuart, 1980, “Cultural Studies: Two Paradigms,” Media, Culture and Society, 2, 57-72. Hall, Stuart, 1992, “Cultural Studies and Its Theoretical Legacies,” in Grossberg, Lawrence, Nelson, Cary, and Treichler, Paula A., (eds.), Cultural Studies, London, England: Routledge, Chapter 17, pp. 277-294. Hall, Stuart and Du Gay, Paul, (eds.), 1996, Questions of Cultural Identity, Los Angeles, California: Sage Publications. Hall, Stuart, Lumley, Bob, and McLennan, Gregor, 1978, “Politics and Ideology: Gramsci,” in Hall, Stuart, Lumley, Bob, McLennan, Gregor, (eds.), On Ideology, London, England: Hutchinson, pp. 45-76. Haskell, Thomas L. and Teichgraeber, Richard F., (eds.), 1996, The Culture of the Market: Historical Essays, Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. Heidegger, Martin, 1952, Being and Time, New York, New York: Harper. Held, David, 1980, Introduction to Critical Theory: Horkheimer to Habermas, Berkeley, California: University of California Press. Held, David and McGrew, Anthony, 2002, Globalization/Anti-Globalization, Cambridge, England: Polity Press. Herskovits, Melville J., 1955, Cultural Anthropology, New York, New York: Random House. Homans, George C., 1964, “Bringing Men Back In,” American Sociological Review, 29:809-818. Horkheimer, Max and Adorno, Theodor W., 1944, “The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception,” in Horkheimer, Max and Adorno, Theodor W., (eds.), Dialectic of Enlightenment, New York, New York: Seabury Press, pp. 120-167. Husserl, Edmund, 1931, Ideas: General Introduction to Pure Phenomenology, New  York, New York: Macmillan. Jameson, F., 1984, “Postmodern, or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism,” New Left Review, 46. Jameson, F., 1993, “On Cultural Studies,” Social Text, 34. Janicki, Maria G. and Krebs, Dennis L., 1998, “Evolutionary Approaches to Culture,” in Crawford, Charles and Krebs, Dennis L., (eds.), Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology: Ideas, Issues, and Applications, Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers, Chapter 5, pp. 163-207. Kellner, Douglas, 1995, Media Culture: Cultural Studies, Identity, and Politics between the Modern and the Postmodern, London, England: Routledge. Kellner, Douglas, 2001, “Cultural Studies and Social Theory: A Critical Intervention,” in Ritzer, George, Smart, Barry, (eds.), Handbook of Social Theory, Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications Ltd, Chapter 30, pp. 395-409. Kimmel, Paul R., 2006, “Culture and Conflict,” in Deutsch, Morton, Coleman, Peter T., Marcus, Eric C., (eds.), The Handbook of Conflict Resolution: Theory and Practice, San Francisco, California: John Wiley and Sons, Inc., Chapter 22, pp. 453-474. King, Anthony D., (ed.), 1991, Culture, Globalization and the World-System, Minneapolis, Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press. Kroeber, Alfred and Kluckhohn, Clyde, 1952, Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Printing Office. Laing, David, 1978, The Marxist Theory of Art: An Historical Survey, Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey: Humanities Press.



Lang, Berel and Williams, Forrest, (eds.), 1972, Marxism and Art, New York, New York: David Mckay Co. Lee, Dorothy D., 1959, Freedom and Culture, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall. Lewis, Jeff, 2002, Cultural Studies: The Basics, Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications. Lifshitz, Mikhail, 1973, The Philosophy of Art of Karl Marx, London, England: Pluto Press. Lipset, Seymour Martin, 1967, The First New Nation: The United States in Historical and Comparative Perspective, New York, New York: Doubleday. Lyotard, Jean-Francois, 1984, The Postmodern Condition, Minneapolis, Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press. Marcuse, Herbert, 1964, One Dimensional Man, Boston, Massachusetts: Beacon Press. Marx, Karl and Engels, Fredrick, 1974, On Literature and Art, New York, New York: International General. Marx, Karl and Engels, Fredrick, 2004, The German Ideology, New York, New York: International Publishers Co., Inc. Mayhew, Anne, 1987, “Culture: Core Concept under Attack,” Journal of Economic Issues, 21, 587-615. McGowan, Kate, 2007, Key Issues in Critical and Cultural Theory, Maidenhead, Berkshire, England: Open University Press. Merton, Robert K., 1942, “Science and Technology in a Democratic Order,” Journal of Legal and Political Sociology, 1, 115-126. Moore, Jerry, 2012, Visions of Culture: An Introduction to Anthropological Theories and Theorists, Walnut Creek, California: AltaMira Press. Munch, Richard and Smelser, Neil J., (eds.), 1992, Theory of Culture, Berkeley, California: University of California Press. Murdock, Graham, 1982, “Large Corporations and the Control of the Communication Industries,” in Gurevitch, M. et  al., (eds.), Culture, Society and the Media, London, England: Methuen, pp. 118-150. Murdock, Graham and Golding, Peter, 1974, “For a Political Economy of Mass Communication,” in Miliband, R. and Saville, J., (eds.), Socialist Register 1973, London, England: Merlin Press. Murdock, Graham and Golding, Peter, 1979a, “Ideology and the Mass Media: The Question of Determination,” in Barrett, M. et  al, (eds.), Ideology and Cultural Production, New  York, New York: St. Martin’s Press, pp. 198-224. Murdock, Graham and Golding, Peter, 1979b, “Capitalism, Communication and Class Relations,” in Curran, James, Gurevitch, Michael, Woollacott, Janet, (eds.), Mass Communication and Society, Beverly Hills, California: Sage Publications, Chapter 1, pp. 12-43. Nelson, Cary and Grossberg, Lawrence, (eds.), 1988, Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture, Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois Press. Osborne, Thomas, 2008, Structure of Modern Cultural Theory, New York, New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Pagel, Mark, 2012, Wired for Culture: Origins of the Human Social Mind, New York, New York: W.W. Norton and Company. Parsons, Talcott, 1961, “An Outline of the Social System,” in Parsons, T., Shils, E., Naegele, K., and Pitts, J., (eds.), Theories of Society, Volume 1, Glencoe, Illinois: Free Press. Parsons, Talcott, 1967, Essays in Sociological Theory, New York, New York: Free Press. Parsons, Talcott, 1977, The Evolution of Societies, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall. Parsons, Talcott and Shils, Edward, 1951, “Values, Motives, and Systems of Actions,” in Parsons, Talcott, Shils, Edward, (eds.), Toward a General Theory of Action, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. Pitts, Jesse R., 1964, “Continuity and Change in Bourgeois France,” in Hoffman, Stanley, (ed.), In Search of France, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. Plekhanov, Georgi, 1957, Art and Social Life, Moscow, Russia: Progress Publishers.


2  Culture: Four Paradigmatic Views

Rojot, Jacques, 2008, “Culture and Decision Making,” in Hodgkinson, Gerard P. and Starbuck, William H., (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Organizational Decision Making, Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, Chapter 7, pp. 134-151. Ryan, Bill, 1992, Making Capital from Culture: The Corporate Form of Capitalist Cultural Production, New York, New York: Walter de Gruyter. Said, Edward W., 1978, Orientalism, New York, New York: Vintage Books. Said, Edward W., 1993, Culture and Imperialism, New York, New York: Vintage Books. Saussure, Ferdinand, 1964, Course in General Linguistics, New York, New York: McGraw-Hill. Scott, James C., 1990, Domination and the Arts of Resistance: Hidden Transcripts, New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press. Sennett, Richard, 2006, Culture of the New Capitalism, New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press. Sherwood, Steven Jay, Smith, Philip, and Alexander, Jeffrey C., 1993, “The British Are Coming . . . Again! The Hidden Agenda of ‘Cultural Studies’,” Contemporary Sociology, 22:370-375. Smelser, Niel J., 1959, Social Change in the Industrial Revolution, Chicago, Illinois: University of Chicago Press. Smircich, R.  Linda, 1983, “Concepts of Culture and Organizational Analysis,” Administrative Science Quarterly, 28:339-358. Solomon, Maynard, (ed.), 1973, Marxism and Art: Essays Classic and Contemporary, New York, New York: Alfred A. Knopf. Steinmetz, George, (ed.), 1999, State/Culture: State-Formation after the Cultural Turn, Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press. Storey, John, 2012, Cultural Theory and Popular Culture: An Introduction, New York, New York: Routledge. Swidler, Ann, 1986, “Culture in Action: Symbols and Strategies,” American Sociological Review, 51:273-286. Tansey, James, 2004, “Risk as Politics, Culture as Power,” Journal of Risk Research, 7:17-32. Thompson, E.P., 1963, The Making of the English Working Class, New York, New York: Vintage Books. Thompson, John B., 1990, Ideology and Modern Culture: Critical Social Theory in the Era of Mass Communication, Stanford, California: Stanford University Press. Thompson, Michael, Ellis, Richard, and Wildavsky, Aaron, 1990, Cultural Theory, Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press. Thompson, Michael, Grendstad, Gunnar, and Selle, Per, (eds.), 1999, Cultural Theory as Political Science, London, England: Routledge. Tooby, John and Cosmides, Leda, 1992, “The Psychological Foundations of Culture,” in Barkow, Jerome H., Cosmides, Leda, and Tooby, John, (eds.), The Adapted Mind: Evolutionary Psychology and the Generation of Culture, New York, New York: Oxford University Press, Chapter 1, pp. 19-136. Tumino, Stephen, 2008, The Labor Theory of Culture, Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. Wallerstein, Emmanuel, 1974, The Modern World-System, New York, New York: Academic Press. Walzer, Michael, 1965, The Revolution of the Saints: A Study on the Origins of Radical Politics, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. Weber, Max, 1930, The Protestant Ethics and the Spirit of Capitalism, London, England: Unwin. Weber, Max, 1946, From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology, New  York, New  York: Oxford University Press. Weber, Max, 1949, The Methodology of the Social Sciences, New York, New York: Free Press. White, Leslie A., 1949, The Science of Culture: A Study of Man and Civilization, New  York, New York: Farrar, Straus and Cudahy. Wiatr, Jerzy J., 1989, “The Civic Culture from a Marxist-Sociological Perspective,” in Almond, Gabriel A. and Verba, Sidney, (eds.), The Civic Culture Revisited, Newbury Park, California: Sage Publications, Inc., Chapter 4, pp. 103-123.



Williams, Raymond, 1958, Culture and Society, 1780-1950, New  York, New  York: Columbia University Press. Williams, Raymond, 1980, “Base and Superstructure in Marxist Cultural Theory,” in Williams, Raymond, Problems in Materialism and Culture, London, England: Verso, pp. 31-49. Willis, Paul, 1979, “Masculinity and Factory Labor,” in Clark, John et al., (eds.), Working Class Culture, London, England: Hutchinson. Wilson, Margo and Daly, Martin, 1992, “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Chattel,” in Barkow, Jerome H., Cosmides, Leda, and Tooby, John, (eds.), The Adapted Mind: Evolutionary Psychology and the Generation of Culture, New York, New York: Oxford University Press, Chapter 7, pp. 289-322. Young, Roland Arnold, 1958, Approaches to the Study of Politics: Twenty-Two Contemporary Essays Exploring the Nature of Politics and Methods by which It Can Be Studied, Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press. Zald, Mayer N., 1996, “Culture, Ideology, and Strategic Framing,” in McAdam, Doug, McCarthy, John D., and Zald, Mayer N., (eds.), Comparative Perspectives on Social Movements: Political Opportunities, Mobilizing Structures, and Cultural Framing, Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, Chapter 11, pp. 261-274.

Chapter 3

Religion: Four Paradigmatic Views

Any explanation of the religion is based on a worldview. The premise of this book is that any worldview can be associated with one of the four broad paradigms: functionalist, interpretive, radical humanist, and radical structuralist. This chapter takes the case of religion and discusses it from the four different viewpoints. It emphasizes that the four views expressed are equally scientific and informative; they look at the phenomenon from their certain paradigmatic viewpoint, and together they provide a more balanced and a more comprehensive understanding of the phenomenon under consideration. In this chapter, Sects. 1, 2, 3, and 4 present the four perspectives, and Sect. 5 concludes the chapter.

1  Functionalist View Religion performs various functions that serve a variety of needs of individuals and the social structure. For example, a group that has immigrated to a new country finds that religion plays a significant role as a source of identity. As for another example, a group that has experienced a severe suffering finds that religion provides a great explanation that makes the suffering bearable. As for still another example, people living in a society that is experiencing rapid social change find that religion provides a sense of security and assurance.1 The functions of any religion depend on the social structure, the culture of the society, and the specific characteristics of that religion. In general, religion serves four types of function: (1) meaning function, (2) belonging and identity function, 1  For this literature, see Dillon (2003), Fenn (2009), Furseth and Repstad (2006), Hamilton (2007), Kunin and Miles-Watson (2006), Monahan, Mirola, and Emerson (2010), Pals (2006), Parsons (1944, 1951), Possamai (2009), Roberts and Yamane (2012), Robertson (1969), and Stausberg (2009). This section is based on Roberts and Yamane (2012).

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020 K. Ardalan, Understanding Revolution, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-47591-8_3



3  Religion: Four Paradigmatic Views

(3) cultural function, and (4) structural function. The former two types of function are provided to an individual, and the latter two types of function are provided to society. The “meaning function” of religion is that function of religion that provides a sense of meaning in life. Religion offers a worldview according to which injustice, suffering, and death become meaningful. And when they become meaningful, they become sufferable. In other words, when people find a reason to live, then they can live any type of life. Religion meets the meaning function by offering more than a set of ideas or notions about the world. This is because “… meaning involves both concept (idea) and demand (imperative). The worldview must be presented to the prospective believer in such a way that the person seems to be held by the belief rather than voluntarily holding the beliefs. Philosophical systems of thought seldom address people’s emotions in a way that impels them to believe: There is no demand. The communication of concepts through rituals and symbol systems, on the other hand, incorporates both affective and cognitive dimensions; this makes the religion seem compelling.” (Roberts and Yamane, 2012)

Almost all people have a desire to make sense of this world, and they become extremely anxious when they do not have any explanation for events. Religion resolves such issue and problems. Religion does it by locating a specific experience, event, or observation within a larger context of experiences, events, or observations. The larger context is given the ultimate meaning, and the specific event gains its significance in its relationship to that larger context. The “belonging and identity function” of religion provides a sense of belonging and identity to its believers. For example, this function of religion has made denominationalism so strong in the United States. More specifically, many Italian immigrants, before coming to the United States, did not identify themselves primarily as Catholics. After living in a new environment, with different norms and values, many Italian Americans identified themselves strongly with the Catholic Church. Many Italian Catholic congregations turned into community centers that helped members maintain their sense of roots. “Similarly, other immigrant groups have shown increased denominational loyalty and intensified religiosity after coming to the United States. The denomination, in effect, became a source of ethnic identity and a bastion of cultural stability for those facing culture shock. As decades pass, religious services eventually come to be conducted in English, assimilation occurs, and ethnic loyalty starts to fade; religion then becomes the source of identity in and of itself.” (Roberts and Yamane, 2012)

As for another example, in Poland, Ukraine, and other Eastern European countries which were controlled by the Soviet Union, the Roman Catholic tradition acted as a source of identity and solidarity for the people who opposed foreign control. In Poland, the church provided a sense of commonality for people with diverse ethnic backgrounds and gave sacred sanction to their resistance against a government that they regarded as an illegitimate puppet government which was controlled by Moscow. The unity of the Polish people, which was based on a common religious identity, was a crucial factor in their survival and ultimate success.

2  Interpretive View


As for still another example, an individual may strongly identify herself as a Christian, and according to her interpretation of Christianity, she may consider certain activities as unacceptable. At a party, she may refrain from consuming alcohol. The “cultural function” of religion is generally performed by moralizing cultural values and by linking religion to everyday morality. Almost all people desire to have factual basis for their commitments and are not happy with mere conventionalism. Religion fuses ethos and worldview and gives to a set of social values an appearance of objectivity. Furthermore, religion, in its sacred rituals and myths, portrays values as if they are not subjective human preferences but the objective conditions of life. “A moral code may not seem entirely compelling to people if it is enforced by nothing more than social tradition. One of the important functions of most religions, then, is to provide a metaphysical basis for the moral order of the social group and to reinforce obedience to norms.” (Roberts and Yamane, 2012)

Religion makes the norms and rules of society part of an all-embracing ethical order, which is ordained and sanctified by religious beliefs and practices. In doing so, religion contributes to the enforcement of such norms and rules. Religion provides a metaphysical foundation for the culture’s values, moral codes, and outlooks on life and in this way helps to combat the confusion, disorientation, and deviance that anomie can generate. This function of religion enhances cultural stability. The “structural function” of religion supports the organizational structure of society. Religion acts as a glue to bond together people who otherwise have diverse self-interests. Religion helps people “… to define themselves as a moral community with common values and with a common mission in life. This unifying and self-defining function is especially true of religion in non-­ industrialized, homogeneous societies. In the pluralistic society of the United States, no single traditional religion can claim that role.” (Roberts and Yamane, 2012)

As noted earlier, religion enhances social stability by moralizing the norms and values of the society. As a result, people observe all taboos for fear of the consequences of breaking the taboo. For instance, many Innuit (Eskimos) believe that Sedna, the goddess of the sea, decides on people’s success or failure in hunting seals. Believing Innuits do not offend Sedna by violating her rules, and therefore, no Innuit hunts more than what is needed, as waste has to be avoided. This conservation role of religion is functional for Innuit society. In most societies, religion enforces moral obligation to norms that stabilizes the social structure.

2  Interpretive View Religion can be regarded as a cultural system. More specifically, a religion is: “(1) a system of symbols which acts to (2) establish powerful, pervasive, and long-lasting moods and motivations in men by (3) formulating conceptions of a general order of existence and (4) clothing these conceptions with such an aura of factuality that (5) the moods and motivations seem uniquely realistic.” (Geertz, 1973)


3  Religion: Four Paradigmatic Views

The first characteristic of religion is that it is “a system of symbols which acts to …” The word “symbol” has a variety of meanings. In some cases, it is used for anything that signifies something else. For instance, dark clouds symbolically show that rain is about to fall. In some other cases, it is used for conventional signs. For instance, a red flag is used as a symbol of danger, and a white flag is used as a symbol for surrender. In still other cases, it is used for any object, act, event, quality, or relation that helps to create a conception, i.e., the symbol’s “meaning.” It is this usage which is adhered to here. An example of the usage of this case is the Cross, when it is talked about, visualized, shaped worriedly in air, or fondly fingered at the neck. Cultural acts, which are constituted by the construction, apprehension, and utilization of symbolic forms, are social events.2 Culture patterns, which are constituted by systems or complexes of symbols, are extrinsic sources of information. Here “extrinsic” means the environment that lies outside the individual and consists of the intersubjective world of common understandings. Moreover, “sources of information” means the blueprint or template that give a definite form to external processes. Culture patterns provide a coded program, a set of instructions, or a recipe, for the institution of the social and psychological processes that shape public behavior. The behavior of human beings is largely determined by the extrinsic sources of information, rather than the intrinsic sources of information, i.e., through genes. The second characteristic of religion is that as a system of symbols it attempts “... to establish powerful, pervasive, and long-lasting moods and motivations in men by…” Religion expresses the world and shapes it. It shapes the world by instilling in the believer a distinctive set of “dispositions” (tendencies, capacities, propensities, skills, habits, liabilities, pronenesses) that give a chronic character to the believer’s flow of activity and quality of experience. A “disposition” does not designate an activity or an occurrence; rather, it designates the potential of the performance of an activity or the occurrence of an event in certain circumstances. Religion induces, in believers, two different sets of dispositions: moods and motivations. “A motivation is a persisting tendency, a chronic inclination to perform certain sorts of acts and experience certain sorts of feeling in certain sorts of situations. … Motives have a directional cast, they describe a certain overall course, gravitate toward certain, usually temporary, consummations. But moods vary only as to intensity: they go nowhere.” (Geertz, 1973)

Moods spring from certain circumstances and are totalistic, in the sense that if one is sad, everything and everybody seems dreary. Motivations have a long-term nature, but moods have a short-term nature. Motivations are “made meaningful”

2  For this literature, see Davie (2013), Fenn (2009), Furseth and Repstad (2006), Geertz (1973, 2010), Hamilton (2007), Hill (1973), Kunin and Miles-Watson (2006), Lechner (1989), Lee (1959), Olson (2003), Pals (2006), Possamai (2009), Roberts and Yamane (2012), Robertson (1969, 1970, 1989), Stausberg (2009), Thomas (1997), Wach (1944), and Weber (1963, 1968). This section is based on Geertz (2010).

2  Interpretive View


with reference to particular ends, but moods are “made meaningful” with reference to the conditions from which they spring. The third characteristic of religion is that as a system of symbols it establishes moods and motivations “… by formulating conceptions of a general order of existence and ...” Human beings are least able to tolerate their limits of analytic capacities, powers of endurance, and moral insight. Religion attempts to orient human beings when they experience bafflement, suffering, and a sense of intractable ethical paradox. It comprehends that it is a matter of affirming the inevitability of ignorance, pain, and injustice in human life “… while simultaneously denying that these irrationalities are characteristic of the world as a whole. And it is in terms of religious symbolism, a symbolism relating man’s sphere of existence to a wider sphere within which it is conceived to rest, that both the affirmation and the denial are made.” (Geertz, 1973)

The fourth characteristic of religion is that as a system of symbols, it establishes moods and motivations by formulating conceptions of order “... and clothing those conceptions with such an aura of factuality that ...” The experience of bafflement, pain, and moral paradox drives human beings toward belief in religion. Religious belief involves a prior acceptance of authority that transforms everyday experience. The essence of religious action involves imbuing particular combinations of symbols – formulation of metaphysic and recommendation of the style of life – with a persuasive authority. “In a ritual, the world as lived and the world as imagined, fused under … a single set of symbolic forms, turn out to be the same world producing … transformations in one’s sense of reality… it is … out of the … concrete acts of religious observance that religious conviction emerges ...” (Geertz, 1973)

In more elaborate and public rituals, a broad range of moods and motivations are combined with metaphysical conceptions such that they shape the spiritual consciousness of a people. These full-blown ceremonies may be called “cultural performances,” and they represent the convergence of the dispositional and conceptual aspects of religious life for the believer. The fifth characteristic of religion is that as a system of symbols, it establishes moods and motivations by formulating conceptions of order that are clothes with factuality and “... that the moods and motivations seem uniquely realistic.” Human beings do not live in the world religious symbols formulate all of the time, and most people live in that world only for short periods of time. The everyday world consists of objects and practical acts. It constitutes the paramount reality in human experience. It is the world in which human beings are undeniably rooted and are constantly involved with its pressures and requirements. However, religious rituals induce dispositions that importantly impact human beings outside the boundaries of those rituals because such religious rituals change the believer’s conception of the established world of bare fact. Religion is sociologically interesting because similar to environment, political power, wealth, legal obligation, personal affection, and a sense of beauty, religion shapes society.


3  Religion: Four Paradigmatic Views “Having ritually … “slipped” … into the framework of meaning which religious conceptions define, and the ritual ended, … a man is … changed. And as he is changed, so also is the common-sense world, for it is now seen as but the partial form of a wider reality which corrects and completes it ...” (Geertz, 1973)

3  Radical Humanist View Religion can be regarded as a critique. The Enlightenment triumphed over reason and turned religion into domesticated subjectivity. The Enlightenment is continuing its support of reason through the services of theology and religion by unmasking the extreme admiration and fetishism of the market and technology and by returning to the importance of subjective freedom. Indeed, it is only in a secularized world that the true nature of theology, and religion, can clearly be seen. This might seem to be a paradoxical situation. In the same way that philosophy continues to exist because the moment of its realization was missed, religion continues to exist because its promise is not yet completely fulfilled, and its complaint is not yet completely heard. Therefore, rather than paying an incidental or ancillary attention to religion, there needs to be a central, deliberate, and explicit encounter with both religion and theology. This means that religion and theology, like art and the culture industry, need to be a major field of study. This is because, similar to art and the culture industry, religion reflects both the degree of technological development of society and the degree of pathological socialization and reification of individuals. But, similar to art and the products of mass culture, religion is the arena for the negotiation of critique, remembrance, and emancipatory projections.3 Religion can be viewed in different ways, but it should not be analyzed either reductively or simplistically. It needs to be viewed as a heterogeneous phenomenon that interfaces at many different levels with social existence. Religion can be viewed as a fundamental part of the lifeworld. This is because religion mediates and constitutes the lifeworld. Religion is an institution that not only coalesces into churches, sects, and proselytizing movements but also provides societies with common languages to express their hopes and address their discontents. Religion is both an institution that brought to life the rationalization that led to modernity and a worldview that influences and affects every aspect of the lifeworld. Religion is, therefore, involved in both the lifeworld and the totality of the social system. Religion, together with all of its ancillaries, plays an integral role in social evolution, but it is not exhausted or abolished by such evolution. Religion has stimulated ideas of autonomy, authority, power, and development of critical thinking, but at the same time, under the pressure of new forms of socialization, personality development, and the

3  For this literature, see Dunning (2003), Fromm (1961), Furseth and Repstad (2006), Goldstein (2006), Hamilton (2007), McLellan (1987), Mendieta (2005), Pasha and Samatar (1996), Plamenatz (1975), Possamai (2009), Roberts (1959), Siebert (1985), and Vasquez (2011). This section is based on Mendieta (2005).

3  Radical Humanist View


production of culture, religion was forced into the service of domestication and pacification. Theology contributes to the understanding of religion’s truth content, but, theology does not fully reveal religion’s truth content. Theology continues to exist as a close approximation to religious experience because reason has left this world that has turned everything to commodity. Thus, not only there is a need to think about the pros and cons of religion, but also there is a need to rescue theology for the sake of rescuing reason. Brutal criticism of theology not only seeks to remove religion as a mystified social reality but also seeks to remove reason as a historical reality. In contrast to the traditional consideration that theology is the understanding of faith seeking, theology is in search of reason by demystifying social reality. Religion should be treated as a completely contemporary phenomenon that is similar to art and philosophy and that it does not seek to either replace or be replaced by them. Religion not only offers consolation but also offers the conceptual and epistemological tools for criticizing a world that has made humanity disconsolate and superstitious. Critical theory’s theology is a form of “negative theology.” It is a theology that is based on the absence of God. It is an inverse theology that rejects both theodicy and divine history falsely called progress. It is an inverse theology that rejects the belief that human history has been benevolently guided by God. Such progress has been a sham, for such progress has been a storm and catastrophe, and the earth has experienced calamity. Critical theory’s theology cannot reconcile God and a world that counters everything it stands for. The reconciliation of God with the misery and suffering of the world, even before the moment of creation, destroys human creativity. For the critical theory of theology, God is the author of a dual negativity: what negates the present sufferings and what negates the delusional self-sufficiency of the concept that betrays reason to positivistic pieties. The critical theory of theology rejects and refutes God, for the sake of God, and it also rejects and refutes religion for the sake of what the religious prefigures and recalls. Since religion is continuously at the service of totalitarian ends, only the useless religion is considered true, and the useful religion is not considered true: “This negative theology, then turns into a redemptive and hopeful theology, for which the two central theologemes are memory and hope, remembrance and utopia. The goal, to underscore, is not faith, but truth and reason. Negative, qua redemptive, theology is not faith in search of reason, Deus in quest of justification, but reason in quest of its possibility, hope, and truth. As Horkheimer notes, “Faced with the sciences and the entire present situation, my idea of expressing the concept of an omnipotent and benevolent Being no longer as a dogma, but as longing that unites all men so that the horrible events, the injustice of history so far would not be permitted to be the final, ultimate fate of the victims, seems close to the solution of the problem.” This longing that Horkheimer also calls the yearning for the wholly other, is a yearning for a truth whose condition of possibility is the just society. Theology, as the medium in which religion is able to speak and disclose its truth content, is at the service of a critical social theory, although this last one can neither replace it nor dispense with it.” (Mendieta, 2005)

Critique of religion needs to consider religion as a source of social critique that transcends the traditional disciplinary boundaries that have been used to limit


3  Religion: Four Paradigmatic Views

r­eligion. The approach of the critical theory of religion should not be limited to a sociology of religion, a philosophy of religion, or a theology of religion. The approach used, furthermore, should not be merely functionalistic, phenomenological, or existentialist. It is, moreover, not denominational, or confessional. In the critical theory of religion, there is a dual encounter with the religious sources of modern, European, and Western culture, sources that prompted a fateful dialectic of introjected and sacrificial violence, and an attempt to rescue religion from being just a source of alienation and negation of the world, by making it a source of remembrance, hope, redemption, and utopia. This dual perspective that intends to make explicit the ways in which modernity, and the West in general, could not become what it became without the ceaseless confrontation among Athens, Rome, and Jerusalem opens the door for conversation with other religious worldviews and lifeworlds, in which religion can be both a source of reification and opium and a source of memory, hope, and yearning that may from within initiate new forms of Enlightenment and Cosmopolitanism.

4  Radical Structuralist View Marx believed that the structure determines the superstructure, which includes religion. Religion, according to Marx, is pure illusion and certainly has evil consequences. It is the most extreme form of ideology, which is a belief system whose main purpose is to provide justification for keeping social matters according to wishes of the oppressors. Religion is completely determined by economics, and therefore, it is pointless to analyze its doctrines or beliefs on their own merits. Such doctrines differ across religions, but since religion is inherently ideological, its specific form in a particular society, in the final analysis, is largely dependent on the shape of social life as determined by the material forces in that society. Marx emphasized that belief in a god, or gods, is one of the undesirable outcomes of the class struggle, and therefore, it should be scornfully dismissed.4 Marx criticized all the gods because they do not regard man’s self-consciousness as the highest divinity. He tried to unmask religion’s false nature. He believed that religions talk about God, but what they really have in mind is humanity. Christian theologians start with all of the qualities which an ideal human being should have – such as goodness, beauty, truthfulness, wisdom, love, steadfastness, and strength of character – then take them from their human owners and assign them to a supernatural being called God, whom are worshipped as a separate entity from human beings. Christian theology is thus guilty of “alienating” the consciousness of human beings. It takes ideal human qualities and erroneously assigns them to some alien entity 4  For this literature, see Furseth and Repstad (2006), Hamilton (2007), Kunin and Miles-Watson (2006), Marx and Engels (1964), McKown (1975), McLellan (1987), Monahan, Mirola, and Emerson (2010), Pals (2006), Possamai (2009), Raines (2002), Roberts and Yamane (2012), Thrower (1983), Turner (1991), and Wuthnow (1978). This section is based on Pals (2006).

4  Radical Structuralist View


called God. In other words, man looked for a superman in heaven but found nothing except for the reflection of himself. Indeed, man makes religion, in contrast to what religion leads people to believe that religion makes man. Marx believed that human beings do not take credit for their own accomplishments, but in contrast, they think of themselves as miserable sinners and praise God for all the glory. This alienation can be better understood when it is looked at from a materialist and economic perspective. Marx relates two parallel alienating processes that exist in religious and socioeconomic activities. “Religion takes qualities – moral ideals – out of our natural human life and gives them, unnaturally, to an imaginary and alien being we call God. Capitalist economies take another expression of our natural humanity – our productive labor – and transform it just as unnaturally into a material object, something that is bought, sold, and owned by others. In the one case, we hand over a part of our selves – our virtue and sense of self-worth – to a wholly imaginary being. In the other, we just as readily deliver our labor for nothing more than wages to get other things that money will buy. As religion robs us of our human merits and gives them to God, so the capitalist economy robs us of our labor, our true self-expression, and gives it, as a mere commodity, into the hands of the those – the rich – who are able to buy it. Nor is this unhappy combination just a coincidence. Religion, remember, is part of the superstructure of society. Economic realities form its base. The alienation we see in religion is, in actuality, just the expression of our more basic unhappiness, which is always economic.” (Pals, 2006)

The alienation which is evident in religion is simply on the surface and is a mirror image of the alienation which is evident in economics which underlies the alienation of humanity. This explains why religion has such a powerful and lasting appeal to many people. Religion, better than any other component of the social superstructure, addresses the emotional needs of an alienated, unhappy humanity. Here is the well-known quotation from Marx: “Religious distress is at the same time the expression of real [economic] distress and the protest against real distress. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is the opium of the people.” (Pals, 2006)

The real happiness of people requires the abolition of religion, which is the illusory happiness of the people. Religion will disappear only when the conditions that have given rise to religion disappear. Marx made reference to opium because it is a narcotic and hallucinogenic substance that by creating fantasies, it eases pain, which is precisely the role that religion plays in the life of the poor. Religion creates the fantasy of a supernatural world in which all sorrows and all oppression disappear and, therefore, eases the pain people suffer in a world of cruel exploitation. For instance, the poor with no jewels have hopes because the gates of heaven have pearl ornaments. The oppressed with no money are less worried because the streets of heaven are paved with gold. Marx believed that it is the leap into this unreal imaginary world that makes religion such a comforting business. Since God and supernatural world do not exist, being religious is similar to being addicted to a drug, such as opium that provides e­ scapism.


3  Religion: Four Paradigmatic Views

More importantly, religion, in terms of the struggle against exploitation, plays a fundamentally destructive role. The poor do not allocate much energy to change their circumstance because religion has made them perfectly content based on the idea of the next life. The poor do not organize, plan their attack, and begin their revolt because religion has given them hope of heaven such that they have no desire to change their life. Religion shifts the attention of the poor upward to God, whereas their attention should be shifted downward to the injustice of their material, physical situation. Marx believed that human beings are alienated and, therefore, turn to religion. His purpose in analyzing the problem of religion was to find an active strategy that will solve the problem. This is because the main purpose of analyzing the world is to change it for the better. Religion offers escape to the oppressed. It offers ideology to the oppressors who own the means of production. Religion calls upon this ideology to remind the poor that the existing social arrangements should remain intact. Throughout history, religion has offered a divine justification for the status quo, whether in slavery, serfdom, or capitalism. It must be noted that there is variation within Marxism. For example, Engels and Karl Kautsky noted that the rise of Christianity in the ancient world reflected the proletarian revolutionary protest against privileged Roman oppressors. Furthermore, there have emerged forms of Marxism that are more in sympathy with religion. As for another example, in recent decades, theologians in Latin America have come up with “liberation theology” by drawing on Marxist concepts and analyses in order to organize a powerful protest movement against economic injustice. Marx did not try to turn religion into communism’s enemy. Religion is part of society’s superstructure. The base is the real field of battle for the oppressed. After the oppressed succeeds in this battle, religion, like the state and all other parts of the superstructure of oppression, will “wither away.”

5  Conclusion This chapter briefly discussed four views expressed with respect to religion. The functionalist paradigm believes that religion performs various functions that serve a variety of needs of individuals and the social structure. The interpretive paradigm believes that religion can be regarded as a cultural system. The radical humanist paradigm believes that religion is the arena for the negotiation of critique, remembrance, and emancipatory projections. The radical structuralist paradigm believes that religion is a belief system whose main purpose is to provide justification for keeping social matters according to wishes of the oppressors. Each paradigm is logically coherent – in terms of its underlying assumptions – and conceptualizes and studies the phenomenon in a certain way and generates distinctive kinds of insight and understanding. Therefore, different paradigms in combination provide a broader understanding of the phenomenon under



c­ onsideration. An understanding of different paradigms leads to a better understanding of the multifaceted nature of the phenomenon.

References Davie, Grace, 2013, The Sociology of Religion: A Critical Agenda, Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications. Dillon, Michele, (ed.), 2003, Handbook of the Sociology of Religion, Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. Dunning, John H., (ed.), 2003, Making Globalization Good: The Moral Challenges of Global Capitalism, Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. Fenn, Richard K., 2009, Key Thinkers in the Sociology of Religion, New  York, New  York: Continuum. Fromm, Erich, 1961, Marx’s Concept of Man, New York, New York: Continuum. Furseth, Inger and Repstad, Pal, 2006, An Introduction to the Sociology of Religion: Classical and Contemporary Perspectives, Aldershot, Hants, England: Ashgate Publishing Limited. Geertz, Clifford, 1973, “Thick Description: Toward an Interpretive Theory of Culture,” in Geertz, Clifford, The Interpretation of Cultures: Selected Essays, New York, New York: Basic Books, Inc., Publishers, Chapter 1, pp. 3-30. Geertz, Clifford, 1973, “Religion as a Cultural System,” in The Interpretation of Cultures, New York: Basic Books, Inc., Publishers, Chapter 4, pp. 87-125. Geertz, Clifford, 2010, “Religion as a Cultural System,” in Monahan, Susanne C., Mirola, William A., and Emerson, Michael O., (eds.), Sociology of Religion: A Reader, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, pp. 16-23. Goldstein, Warren S., (ed.), 2006, Marx, Critical Theory, and Religion: A Critique of Rational Choice, Boston, Massachusetts: Brill. Hamilton, Malcolm, (ed.), 2007, Sociology of Religion: Critical Concepts in Sociology, New York, New York: Routledge. Hill, Michael, 1973, A Sociology of Religion, New York, New York: Basic Books, Inc., Publishers. Kunin, Seth D. and Miles-Watson, Jonathan, (eds.), 2006, Theories of Religion: A Reader, New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University of Press. Lechner, Frank J., 1989, “Cultural Aspects of the Modern World-System,” in Swatos, William H., Jr., (ed.), Religious Politics in Global and Comparative Perspective, New  York, New  York: Greenwood Press, Chapter 2, pp. 11-28. Lee, Dorothy D., 1959, Freedom and Culture, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall. Marx, Karl and Engels, Friedrich, 1964, On Religion, New York, New York: Schocken Books. McKown, Delos Banning, 1975, Classical Marxists Critiques of Religion: Marx, Engels, Lenin, Kautsky, The Hague, The Netherlands: Martinus Nijhoff. McLellan, David, 1987, Marxism and Religion: A Description of the Marxist Critique of Christianity, New York, New York: Harper and Row, Publishers. Mendieta, Eduardo, (ed.), 2005, The Frankfurt School on Religion: Key Writings by the Major Thinkers, New York, New York: Routledge. Monahan, Susanne C., Mirola, William A., and Emerson, Michael O., (eds.), 2010, Sociology of Religion: A Reader, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall. Olson, Carl, 2003, Theory and Method in the Study of Religion: A Selection of Critical Readings, Belmont, California: Thomson Learning. Pals, Daniel L., 2006, Eight Theories of Religion, Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. Parsons, Talcott, 1944, “The Theoretical Development of the Sociology of Religion: A Chapter in the History of Modern Social Science,” Journal of the History of Ideas, 5:176-190. Parsons, Talcott, 1951, The Social System, Glencoe, Illinois: The Free Press.


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Pasha, Mustapha Kamal and Samatar, Ahmad I., 1996, “The Resurgence of Islam,” in Mittleman, James H., (ed.), Globalization: Critical Reflections, Boulder, Colorado: Lynne Reinner, pp. 187-201. Plamenatz, John Petrov, 1975, Karl Marx’s Philosophy of Man, New  York, New  York: Oxford University Press. Possamai, Adam, 2009, Sociology of Religion for Generations X and Y, London, England: Equinox Publishing Ltd. Raines, John C., (ed.), 2002, Marx on Religion, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Temple University Press. Roberts, David Everett, (ed.), 1959, Existentialism and Religious Beliefs, New York, New York: Oxford University Press. Roberts, Keith A. and Yamane, David, 2012, Religion in Sociological Perspective, Los Angeles, California: Sage Publications. Robertson, Roland, (ed.), 1969, Sociology of Religion: Selected Readings, Baltimore, Maryland: Penguin Books. Robertson, Roland, 1970, The Sociological Interpretation of Religion, New  York, New  York: Schocken Books. Robertson, Roland, 1989, “Globalization, Politics, and Religion,” in Beckford, James A. and Luckmann, Thomas, (eds.), London, England: Sage Publications Ltd., Chapter 1, pp. 10-23. Siebert, Rudolf J., 1985, The Critical Theory of Religion: The Frankfurt School, New  York, New York: Mouton Publishers. Stausberg, Michael, (ed.), 2009, Contemporary Theories of Religion: A Critical Companion, New York, New York: Routledge. Thomas, Robert Murray, 1997, Moral Development Theories  – Secular and Religious: A Comparative Study, Westport, Connecticut, U.S.A.: Greenwood Press. Thrower, James, 1983, Marxist-Leninist “Scientific Atheism” and the Study of Religion and Atheism in the USSR, New York, New York: Mouton Publishers. Turner, Denys, 1991, “Religion: Illusions and Liberation,” in Craver, Terrell, (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Marx, Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, Chapter 13, pp. 320-337. Vasquez, Manuel A., 2011, More than Belief: A Materialist Theory of Religion, Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. Wach, Joachim, 1944, Sociology of Religion, Chicago, Illinois: University of Chicago Press. Weber, Max, 1963, Sociology of Religion, Boston, Massachusetts: Beacon Press. Weber, Max, 1968, Economy and Society: An Introduction of Interpretive Sociology, New York, New York: Bedminster Press. Wuthnow, Robert, 1978, “Religious Movements and the Transaction in World Order,” in Needleman, Jacob and Baker, George, (eds.), Understanding the New Religions, New York, New York: Seabury Press, pp. 63-79.

Chapter 4

Revolution: Four Paradigmatic Views

Any explanation of revolution is based on a worldview. The premise of this book is that any worldview can be associated with one of the four broad paradigms: functionalist, interpretive, radical humanist, and radical structuralist. This chapter takes the case of revolution and discusses it from the four different viewpoints. It emphasizes that the four views expressed are equally scientific and informative; they look at the phenomenon from their certain paradigmatic viewpoint, and together they provide a more balanced and a more comprehensive understanding of the phenomenon under consideration. In this chapter, Sects. 1, 2, 3, and 4 present the four perspectives, and Sect. 5 concludes the chapter.

1  Functionalist View In the study and the conceptualization of revolutionary violence, the key lies in social systems analysis. The study should follow the structural-functionalist approach, which is based on systemic macroanalysis. In this approach, the roles, or functions, of individuals gain importance in the way they affect the stability, health, safety, and survival of the larger social system. Revolution is to be prevented and avoided.1 Revolutions are the products of dysfunctional social systems, i.e., social systems in which the adaptive mechanisms and the value structure are incompatible. The dysfunctional system comes about when the equilibrium state of the social system

1  For this literature, see Blalock (1989), Davis (1962, 1969), Feierabend et al. (1969), Goldstone (1986), Gurr (1970), Johnson (1966), Kuper (1971), Olson (1963), Olson (1971), Rapoport (1960), Skocpol (1979), Smelser (1962), and Sorokin (1925). This section is based on Johnson (1966), Kraminick (1972), and Zagorin (1973).

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020 K. Ardalan, Understanding Revolution, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-47591-8_4



4  Revolution: Four Paradigmatic Views

is destructed. The equilibrium state is the order of the social system under optimal conditions. Society is a “moral community,” which consists of a group of people who share certain “values”  – called “definitions of the situation”  – which legitimize the inequalities of social organization, such that people accept them as morally correct. Values, whatever their origin, are an independent variable that help to organize and integrate a society. However, values, by which people are united, do not exist in vacuum. The context of a system of social action consists of complex social, economic, and political “environment.” The values of system are directed toward this environment, and they can either strengthen or weaken people’s attempts in exploiting it or adapting to it. Values are not the products of the existential determinants of societies, but values interact with the sociopolitical environment. In any analysis of the determinants of a particular social system, the influence of the environment needs to be considered as much as the influence of the value system is considered. Values and the requirements of environmental adaptation in combination determine a social structure. Conflict is a possible outcome of this combination. A measure of the viability of a social system is the extent to which the social system eliminates or routinizes relations of conflict. When a particular value system is compatible with its particular pattern of environmental adaptation – that is, a division of labor is synchronized with its specific socioeconomic context – then, it would not only produce conflicts, but also it provides means for eliminating or routinizing them. In order to understand and resolve the problem of social conflict, it is necessary to consider both the value and environmental sources of conflict and the conflict-­regulating capacity of the system in the context of the way in which the values legitimize the specific arrangements that the system uses in order to adapt to its environment. In order to understand whether the relations of conflict lead to social violence, it is necessary to understand the dynamics of synchronization between the value system and the division of labor. Both values and the division of labor act as independent variables in determining such conditions. Both need to be considered and in combination, especially with regard to the way in which each does, or does not, complement the other. There is a systemic order in human society. This systemic order is called homeostatic equilibrium. The social system is characterized by a set of interdependent variables. These variables mutually influence each other and comprise the whole system. Over time, these variables have a tendency to maintain with each other a particular relationship of balance, which is the homeostatic equilibrium. Furthermore, the social system has structure and function. The structure is the system’s complicated and subtle patterning of roles, norms, and status positions. The function is the systematic and purposive orientation of the components of the structural pattern. Functions of components may at times be latent and unintended. The purposiveness of components preserves the persistence and perpetuation of the system. In other words, the purposiveness of components contributes to the adjustment, maintenance, and survival of the system. Some actions are functional, and some

1  Functionalist View


actions are dysfunctional. The functional action enhances the existence and persistence of the system, and the dysfunctional action threatens the existence and persistence of the system. There are four functional prerequisites of a social system: pattern maintenance, adaptation, goal attainment, and integration. Pattern maintenance, or socialization, requires the system to ensure that the values and norms of the system are conveyed to children and immigrants. With respect to children, this is mainly implemented, during their maturing years, through inculcating a conscious, training the habit of discipline, and nurturing the socially tolerated forms of behavior in order to reduce the personal tensions which are experienced in social life. Socialization is mainly accomplished through the institutions of family and formal education, as well as through the learning of social norms during daily social participation, i.e., learning to conform. Adaptation requires the system to be able to adapt to the environment. Adaptation to the environment includes the differentiation and assignment of roles, the evaluated distribution of scarce resources, and the anticipation of environmental changes. This functional need is met by the roles and norms of economic activity  – e.g., markets, central planning institutions, and technological institutes. Goal attainment requires the system’s constituent actors, groups, and subsystems to have at least one goal  – e.g., businesses seek to maximize profit, churches to maximize the number of their converts, schools to educate students, mothers to raise their children, armies to destroy enemies, and so on. Furthermore, the system as a whole is required to have goals, e.g., with respect to other systems. Integration and social control require the system to have institutions to propagate conformity and control deviance. Integration is positively implemented through roles and institutions that perpetuate, assert, or demonstrate the fundamental values of the system. These include the roles and institutions of statesmen, judicial courts of last resort, religious leaders, artists, creative interpreters of the culture, and even social critics. In addition, integration is negatively implemented through the exercise of authority to control deviancy, regulate conflict, and adjudicate disputes. Also, integration is implemented by state, which is the ultimate integrative organ of a social system, i.e., the institutionalized category of roles which are supported by the authoritative use of force. If each of these four functional prerequisites are met, then the social system survives, i.e., the social system is stable or is in a state of equilibrium. To prevent revolution from taking place, it is necessary to accommodate challenges to the social system and to integrate them into the social system and its existent value structure. Indeed, revolution is produced when this integrative process malfunctions. When this integrative function fails, then there is a situation of disequilibrium, i.e., there is a “dysfunctional social system.” The integrative function fails when the same systemic values are not shared by all actors in the system. The systemic values are the prevailing structure of status and role, i.e., the system’s division of labor. If the integrative function performs its task well, then a “change in the equilibriated system” results, i.e., evolution results. In this case, the challenge to the system is accommodated, and there is no need to make a structural change. On the other hand,


4  Revolution: Four Paradigmatic Views

if the integrative function fails to perform its task, then a “change in a disequilibriated or dysfunctional system” results, which can be either conservative or revolutionary change. The conservative change aims at a structural change without violence. The revolutionary change aims at a structural change with violence. The study of revolution requires the search for factors that made the system dysfunctional, the factors that forced the system to move from equilibrium to disequilibrium, and the factors that generated a demand for structural change, of which revolution is a possibility. At the core of the study of revolution is the search for the reasons behind the failure of the integrative function of the system in the maintenance of the social equilibrium, i.e., the search for the preconditions of revolution. Indeed, the system’s equilibrium is destroyed by an enormous stress that it tears apart the harmony between the system’s values and the system’s environmental structure. There are four varieties of such stress, i.e., four sources of disequilibrium, as follows: (1) exogenous value-changing sources, (2) endogenous value-changing sources, (3) exogenous environment-changing sources, and (4) endogenous environment-­changing sources. These stresses or sources of disequilibrium describe the impact on the social system that come from sources foreign or domestic of new ideas or new material and technological features of life. Exogenous value-changing sources, i.e., exogenous sources of value change, include global communication, external “reference groups” (e.g., French and Russian revolutions affected their neighboring countries and Negro African republics affected the values of colored people in other countries), internal mobilizations due to war, refugee migrations due to war, and the effect of such groups as Christian missionaries, communist parties, the Peace Corps, and the UNESCO. All of these have worked as vehicles for cultural contacts and comparisons they provide. Of course, the effects of cultural contact in changing specific value systems can be reinforced by exogenous environment-changing sources, i.e., exogenous sources of environmental change, such as colonialism. Exogenous environment-changing sources open a society to external influences such that even a functional domestic value structure becomes less capable of leading people to reject foreign values. Analytically, exogenous sources of value change should be distinguished, and empirically they should be sought in the context of narrow time spans or individual lives. For instance, the primary effect of foreign education and foreign travel on students from European colonies was to change their values. Endogenous value-changing sources, i.e., endogenous sources of value change, include, for example, the displacement of religious authorities by secular monarchs in both the early modern Christian and Islamic worlds; Henry VIII’s effect on the value structure of England while he was struggling to resolve his marital difficulties; the unfavorable effects of the theories of Bacon, Descartes, and others, on Scholasticism; and, in general, changes values due to intellectual developments and the acceptance of creative innovations. Endogenous environment-changing sources, i.e., endogenous sources of environmental change, refer to internal technological innovations, such as the invention of the wheel or the railroad. Technical innovations may be ignored, accepted as toys

1  Functionalist View


(e.g., gunpowder in China), or incorporated into the division of labor and consequently produce environmental change and finally affect values. When the social system is subjected to any of the four varieties of change, then one of the following two possibilities will take place. One possibility is “homeostatic change,” i.e., any of the four varieties of change will be accommodated, and equilibrium in the social system will be reestablished. The other possibility is “value-environmental dissynchronization and system disequilibrium,” i.e., any of the four varieties of change will have such a tremendous pressure that is beyond the capacity of the system to accommodate. In this case, the social system is ripe for revolution. That is, the pressures are so great, so intense, or so sudden, that they are beyond the capacity of the routine procedures of the social system for the reintegration of the social system. Under these conditions, there are increases in both the acts of violence and the polarization of society into ideological groups. Indeed, ideology is produced by a dysfunctional social system and represents alternative value-­ environmental mixes which are offered by some groups in society. Ideology is an alternative value structure that gains importance only under disequilibrated conditions and which is directed toward the disequilibrated conditions. An ideology may become a value structure if it plays an instrumental role in value-­ environment resynchronization. In any case, an ideology, as an alternative paradigm of values, always acts as a challenger. Ideologies gain ground in disequilibrated systems and act as competitors to the old value structure by defining and explaining the disequilibrated system in a parallel fashion to the value structure’s definition and explanation of a functional system. When an ideology fully develops and becomes a revolutionary ideology, it combines goals, instruments, and values. Such ideologies are called “goal cultures,” i.e., images of a new value-environment symbiosis. Ideologies always attempt to replace the old value structure. A social system becomes receptive to such ideological attempts only when it is suffering from disequilibrium, i.e., disequilibrium produced by value and/or environment change. People become more receptive to ideologies with the hope that with resynchronization, personal tension is reduced and that a foundation of trust is built that provides greater efficiency in the division of labor. Ideologies have a high degree of generality and insight that enables them to spread beyond its core group. In this manner, ideologies attract many people who are trying to cope with disequilibrium-induced tensions. Such people do not share exactly the same interests and are not motivated to the same degree. The people gathered around an ideology may or may not be able to organize an effective revolutionary party. However, over time, an ideology can cause the disequilibrated society to divide into two opposing groups. One group consists of allies, who seek to change the structure of the system, and the other group, who seeks to maintain the structure of the system. A social system that has reached this state has the following two alternatives open to it: resynchronization and revolution. It is important to note that the factors that have produced the disequilibrium cannot by themselves produce revolution. The ultimate precipitator of a revolution is the inability of political elite to respond creatively to this disequilibrium by resynchronizing the social system. Social problems by themselves never bring about


4  Revolution: Four Paradigmatic Views

revolution. Changes and pressures from any of the four sources require adjustment in the social system. If the political leadership does not make the necessary adjustment, then the result will be revolution. Their inability will result in the loss of their power and authority that ultimately may act as an “accelerator” that will precipitate the revolution. Revolutions can be prevented because they can be controlled by humans. Revolutions occur only when the political leadership has failed to skillfully and ingeniously take measures that would act as antidotes to revolutionary conditions. Political leaders receive help from social scientists when seeking to resynchronize the social system in order to prevent revolution from happening. Social scientists oversee the functioning social system and are watchful for the dissynchronization of value structures and environmental adaptation. Social scientists can detect the “societal disequilibria” that lead to revolution. There are specific indices of social dysfunction, and specific indicators of an unstable society, that can inform the social scientists who can in turn inform the governing elite. These indices are suicide rates, heightened ideological activity, the percentage of uniformed armed and police forces to the total population, and the ratio of political to general crimes. If the political elite do not listen to the social scientists, then the worst will be realized: revolution will occur. On the other hand, if elite listen to social scientists and follow their instructions, then the necessary changes would always be followed, and revolution would be prevented from occurring. According to this position, revolution is avoidable. This is in contrast to the position taken by others that considers revolution as inevitable. Various revolutions can be classified according to four criteria: (1) the targets of revolutionary activity, whether government, regime, or society; (2) the identity of the revolutionaries, whether elites, masses, or both; (3) the goals of the revolutionary ideology, whether reformist, nation building, eschatological, etc.; and (4) whether the revolution is a spontaneous or a calculated movement. Based on these four criteria, six types of revolutions can be distinguished. (1) Jacquerie: This is a spontaneous outbreak of peasants that does not challenge the legitimacy of the regime but appeals to traditional authorities for a fair treatment of their grievances. (2) The Millenarian rebellion: This may have the same grievances as the jacquerie but aims at an entirely new order, which is expected to come about with the help of supernatural forces. (3) Anarchistic rebellion: This is a reaction against change or modernization and its aim is to reinstate an idealized older order. (4) Jacobin communist or great revolution: This is the rarest and the one that leads to the most far-­ reaching changes. (5) Conspiratorial coup d’etat: This is an attempt by a small group of elite to bring about social change by violence. (6) Militarized mass insurrection: This is a product of the twentieth century and consists of a people’s war of guerilla insurgency which is led by a dedicated group of elite and is inspired by nationalist and communist ideologies.

2  Interpretive View


2  Interpretive View Voluntaristic constructions – such as symbolic politics, collective memory, and the social context of politics – are central to any adequate understanding of revolutionary processes. Ideas and actors, not structures and long-term history, are the primary driving forces in revolutionary processes. Revolutions are human creations, not inevitable natural processes. In understanding revolutions, the focus should be placed on people, not structures; choices, not determinism; and social transformation, not simple transition. In other words, the focus should be placed on agency, not structure.2 The essence of the structuralist position is expressed as revolutions are not made; they come. The structuralist perspective stresses that, in revolutions, objective relationships and objective conflicts among variously situated groups and nations  – rather than the interests, outlooks, or ideologies of particular actors – are important. In the structuralist perspective, people’s responses to structural conditions are regarded as irrelevant, and people who actually make the revolution are treated as absent. The structuralist perspective, by ignoring the efforts and intentions of people, assumes that structural conditions absolutely dictate what people can do. The structuralist approach disregards agents, ideology, and culture. The structuralist perspective views political, cultural, and subjective factors as reflections of the material or economic base. The structuralist views human actors as carriers of structures but not generators of them. The structuralist does not believe in a dialectical and interactive approach that explores and understands actors who are real men and women in particular historical conditions. However, it is possible to construct very useful theories that recognize the important roles of people and structures. For instance, the modern Latin American revolutions have been multiclass alliances and have had high degrees of voluntarism. This means that the conscious choices and intentional actions of people have played crucial roles in the revolutionary processes. In Latin America, past revolutionary activities have been commonly symbolized by places, dates, and, most importantly, heroes such as Túpac Amaru, Toussaint L’Ouverture, Jóse Martí, Zapata, Mariátegui, Sandino, Farabundo Martí, Prestes, and Ché. Subsequent to their first fight against the Spanish conquerors, revolutionaries have sought to enhance their efforts by reference to these heroes, their ideals, and their struggles. In addition, peoples have sought to identify and understand their struggles through the mythologies generated with reference to these heroes. In many places, the cult of the heroic revolutionary has created a popular political culture of resistance, rebellion, and revolution. A vital component of the revolutionary potential of any population is what they perceive to be their available and plausible options, which constitute their “repertoires of collective action.” These options together with a “‘tool-kit’ of symbols, 2  For this literature, see Amman (1962), Brinton (1938), Calhoun (1983), Chartier (1991), Colburn (1994), Edwards (1927, 1972), Eisenstadt (1978), Foran (1997), Huntington (1968), Petee (1938), Selbin (1993), and Tilly (1975, 1978). This section is based on Selbin (1997).


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stories, rituals, and world-views” provide the basis for people to construct their “strategies of action” to deal with their society. Consider a society where there is a long-standing history of rebellious activities which has been celebrated in their folk culture, or their revolutionary leaders have created, restored, or magnified such traditions in the local culture, or a combination of the two. Then, in this society, revolution will be considered an available and plausible option in response to oppression. Therefore, in this society, when such traditions are invoked, it is more likely that revolutionary activities will be broadly undertaken, popularly supported, and successfully concluded. Therefore, it is crucial that agents, the world which they manufacture, and the culture which they create, be taken seriously in the analysis of revolution. Such analysis should appreciate and account for people’s conscious choices and intentional actions that play identifiable and critical roles throughout the revolutionary process. Furthermore, such analysis should include the revolutionaries’ creativity at the time of the struggle for power and the time of the creation of a new society, after they gain power. People’s thoughts and actions  – even if haphazard or spontaneous  – mediate between structural conditions and social outcomes. But, structural conditions do not unconditionally determine what people do. Instead, structural conditions place certain limits on the range of people’s actions or the range of possibilities open to them. This means that in the revolutionary process, there is more than one path, and there is more than one potential outcome. Even though structural conditions define the range of possibilities open to revolutionary insurrections, or the range of options open to revolutionaries after they have seized the political power, structural conditions do not determine how specific groups or individuals act, what options they pursue, or which possibility they will realize. The critical role of people in the revolutionary process is notable. In the social revolution, leaders play a unique role in organizing the people and in articulating the ideas and ideals around which people may rally. The people may respond favorably or unfavorably to the leadership. If they respond favorably, then it is them who determine how far and how fast the revolutionary process proceeds, and it is them who often turn the thoughts of their leader to reality. Therefore, in the discussion of profound change and revolutionary transformation, it is fundamentally necessary to focus on the power and possibilities that individuals have in controlling their destiny. Revolutionary leaders invoke, manipulate, and build on popular timeless concepts to arouse and mobilize people. The ideals of justice, liberty, equality, democracy, opportunity, and freedom (from fear, from hunger, from disease, of assembly, of speech, of religion) are powerful, compelling, and popular among those who see or experience none of these. Despite the dangers, some people choose to follow revolutionary struggle in order to transform their world. Revolutionary ideals become the driving force that carries the revolutionaries and the people through their struggle. Streams of people’s ideas are powerful and pervasive that travel across time and space. People learn from past experiences and from new information. Modern revolutionaries, to some degree, have imitated the “classic” revolutions of France,

2  Interpretive View


Russia, Mexico, and China. At the same time, modern revolutions have strong historical and contemporary connections among themselves. The Modern Latin American Revolutions show both types of connections. The Cuban revolutionaries benefited from a wide variety of sources such as their own struggle for independence, Mexican revolution, Sandino in Nicaragua, the incomplete revolution in Bolivia, and the destruction of democracy in Spain (1936–39) and Guatemala (1954). Alberto Bayo, who was a loyalist Spanish Air Force officer, was forced into exile after the fascist forces destroyed the Spanish Republic in 1939. Bayo got in touch with and trained surviving Sandinistas in Costa Rica who fought against Papa Somoza in 1948. Then, Bayo trained Castro’s Cuban exiles in Mexico, where Ché Guevara was his “star” student. In Cuba, Bayo and Guevara trained Nicaraguan exiles based on the lessons they learned from Spain, Sandino, Guevara’s 1954 experiences watching the destruction of democracy in Guatemala, and the ill-fated Caribbean Legion (a collection of progressive fighters in the region). The connections were made across time and within time, across cultural boundaries, and within them. The official history of any society has always been constructed by the rulers, by the victorious, and by the powerful and handed down to the people. On the other hand, the people’s history of the same society is founded on the way people perceive the world around them and how it works as well as their role in that process. This history reflects people’s material and ideological contexts of their everyday lives. This history is articulated and revealed by the various instruments of popular political culture. This history is reflected in people’s narratives of their lives and the popular political culture of their society that create the possibility – or lack thereof – for fundamental social change. To access such history, it is necessary to perform in-depth interviews and to collect instruments of popular culture – such as folk tales, songs, and plays. This history may help to understand the extent to which consequential collective action – specifically rebellion or revolution – is possible, or even probable, in any given society. However, culture by itself is not enough. The ability of revolutionaries, specifically revolutionary leaders, to come up with a context in which such cultural traditions play out  – i.e., they are summoned, manipulated, or rewritten  – is very significant. Yet people are not waiting passively to be acted upon. While the revolutionaries may provide an impetus for revolution, and may provide people with a vocabulary or intellectual framework that helps them organize and articulate their visions, revolutionary leaders can go no farther than what the population is prepared for them to go. People have their own context, which is independent of the desires of the revolutionaries. It is crucial that a balance should be struck between the important and powerful understanding that a cultural perspective can provide and the powerful and compelling analysis that a structural perspective can provide. The advocates of a more culturally oriented position need to match the rigorous and sophisticated methods of structuralists, who need to recognize that in their concern with independent and dependent variables, they often ignore critical elements of social reality. Culture


4  Revolution: Four Paradigmatic Views

influences revolutionary processes, and, therefore, it is necessary to combine the roles of agency and culture with the insights provided by structure and political economy. Political cultures of resistance and opposition interact with the social forces that make revolutions. Theories of revolution are founded on individuals and their culture, which is created and transmitted collectively by individuals. This occurs through the socially constructed mechanisms of collective memory, symbolic politics, and the social context of politics. While any adequate theory of revolution must combine elements of agents and structures, without people articulating compelling stories that have engaging and empowering plots, revolutions will not come. Culture can be conceived as a system of shared meanings, attitudes, and values as well as the symbolic forms (e.g., performances, artifacts, etc.) in which they are expressed or embodied. Culture is a constituent part of a total way of life, but culture is not identical with the total way of life. Culture is a place where the way of life is explained and justified, and at the same time, culture is the place where the possibility of changing that way of life is raised. Central to the conception of culture is the ability of people to create, enshrine, manipulate, and discard symbols. Those symbols that can integrate the past, present, and future either into a coherent view of the world or into a usable universal myth are of particular importance and power. Those in power attempt to invoke or create symbols that will maintain their status. On the other hand, those who are against the people in power attempt to use symbols – sometimes the very same symbols – to overturn them. In this way, popular culture – defined as beliefs and practices widespread in any given society – becomes a battleground. Traditionally, the term “popular culture” has been used to refer to unofficial culture, or “mass” culture, which was contrasted with “high culture.” More recently, the term has been used as frequently as “culture” and has been used to refer to folk beliefs, practices, and objects which are rooted in local traditions, as well as mass beliefs, practices, and objects which are generated in political and commercial centers. It includes popularized forms of elite culture, as well as popular forms that have been elevated to museum tradition. In culture, it is possible to find many symbols that can help define any given society and the places of various people within that society. There is intense contention and confrontation over these symbols that have profound ramifications and implications. Both the material and ideological aspects of people’s everyday lives lead them to the arena of power and choice as well as their interplay. Political culture is related to this aspect of the world. Unfortunately, political culture has been associated with the modernization theorists of the 1960s. For these theorists, political culture denoted the abstract values, beliefs, and emotions that people hold toward politics. In practice, this conceptualization devoted attention to “civic culture” and its seemingly “natural” support for liberal democracy. Furthermore, this perspective was fundamentally structural. This is because people were given no role in creating their society, but they were captive to institutions and structures which were beyond their control.

2  Interpretive View


This view of political culture has received its most notable response from “interpretivists.” According to interpretivists, political culture is embedded in human beings and their practices. Consequently, it is possible to describe and understand the context from which the political culture arises. This conception of political culture refers to a collective memory that usually resists and counters the dominant discourse and expresses itself only in the act of narration – it charges life everyday with symbolic meaning. Collective memory serves several functions. Its primary function is that it places the past at the service of the present. That is, those who control the past, control the present. This implies that the societal memory is potentially available for ownership. In other words, societal memory is a battlefield on which various groups fight to establish, protect, and extend their interpretations of their society’s past. Almost any resistance movement conceives of and understands its struggles as the continuation of some long process of struggle which people in that society have in their collective memory. Collective memory has a core consisting of the grand and glorious, and it also has features that are implicit and informal. This shared memory traces the origin, purpose, and development of the group life. Collective memory plays a role which is similar to ideology. Collective memory shapes people’s lives. That is, it provides people a frame of reference for looking back and explaining their experiences and actions. It also provides a platform for building and guiding their future. Historically, revolutionaries have recognized the important role of collective memory and have used it as a revolutionary resource by building on popular expressions of the collective memory. The collective memory of a society is that part of its history that is integrated into its current value system. The rest of the society’s history is ignored and forgotten, although, when needed, it may be reclaimed and remembered. Often the past is rewritten in order to fit the exigencies of the present. This becomes more evident when people face a current problem; the solution for which requires people to think harder about their role in shaping the current process. People intentionality use memory to explain themselves, justify themselves, and to give legitimacy to the current order or to contest it. As a result, people construct the historical present by disputing the meaning of history as well as the contents of tradition and values. This dispute is largely based on individual and collective memories. Individuals share their memories quietly in the evenings and more openly in songs and skits. These individual memories lead to the formation of a collective memory, i.e., a shared history. This history includes the glimpses of freedom and the memories of atrocities and triumphs. This history is available and can be drawn upon. All revolutionary thinkers have discussed at length the complex but critical process that revolutionaries must go through in order to gain the support of the people, i.e., to win their hearts and minds. There is great power and persuasiveness in symbolic politics, which has been an ancient and universal source of social change. Indeed, the subjective influences of ideas, learning, and information have been among the main sources of political change. When political actors are symbolically mobilized, then they can create new political opportunities by revealing, challenging, and changing narratives about interests and identities. In this way, symbolic


4  Revolution: Four Paradigmatic Views

politics expands the opportunities for social change which are offered by political culture. It suggests several channels which can be used in order to transform beliefs into behavior. In order to bring meaning back in for the understanding of revolution, it is necessary to go back to understanding popular political culture. In popular political culture, symbolic politics and collective memory combine to create the social context of politics. Popular political culture reflects the historically created idioms and symbols that form the ability of people in constructing revolutionary ideologies and building revolutionary movements. Political culture is produced by human beings – i.e., it is the product of the previous generations of human beings. This is where scholars in the field of revolution studies should seek the people’s perception of their own available and plausible options.

3  Radical Humanist View Classical Marxism did not adequately address the problem of revolutionary consciousness. This is the result of the theoretical focus of classical Marxism on the mode of production, or economic “base,” as the determinant of historical development. Even the socialist transformation  – which includes the vision of a qualitatively new society that embodies the ultimate goals of political struggle and the subjective foundations of a new worldview  – was scarcely discussed due to the reduction of “superstructural” aspects to their material “base.” It treated consciousness as the natural product of the changing internal dynamics of capitalism, through which socialism grows organically from within the bourgeois society. That is, the contradiction between labor and capital results in the proletariat’s transcendence of the mature capitalist system. This will happen because, under capitalism, the oppressive conditions to which the working class is subjected lead the working class toward full socialist consciousness. This will occur through the process of the everyday struggle of the working class for survival in class society and, in effect, acts as the “school” for revolution. Beyond this, classical Marxism did not systematically examine the origins and nature of differing kinds of working-class consciousness. This omission is understandable in the context of the priorities of classical Marxism.3 Classical Marxism’s theoretical one-dimensionality lacked any subjective component, any social psychology of revolution, and any popular mobilizing power. It explained human behavior as primarily arising based on economic needs. It viewed feelings, moods, ideas, values, and aesthetics as irrational (i.e., “subjective” or “idealist”). It regarded the true purpose of theory as supplying a rational cognitive understanding of history, in general, and a coherent class analysis of bourgeois society, and discovering new knowledge about the laws of capitalist development, in particular. Of course, this approach is valuable in itself. However, from a political  For this literature, see Debray (1967), Fanon (1963, 1964), Gramsci (1971), Lukacs (1971), Marcuse (1964, 1966, 1968), Scott (1976, 1990), Sewell (1985), Singelmann (1981), and Thompson (1963). This section is based on Boggs (1976).


3  Radical Humanist View


perspective, it is incomplete. This is because, in countries such as Germany and Italy, where structural breakdown occurred  – i.e., when the objective conditions were “ripe” for revolutionary upheaval – and where people seemed to have been ready for anti-capitalist mobilization, classical Marxists were not theoretically aware of how to take advantage of the occasion, and as a result, the bourgeoisie (and to the fascists) took over the whole popular ideological terrain. For instance, Hitler stirred their deepest emotional roots. Classical Marxists were too objective, schematic, and abstract. They ignored the creation of a “mass psychology” that would enable them to speak the language of the masses with imagination and emotional appeal. They overlooked the needs, desires, fears, and anxieties of the masses. They lost sight of the real nature and role of popular consciousness in revolutions, and consequently, they did not realize that revolutions spring from the politicization of all aspects of everyday life. They were not aware of the idea that, in the revolutionary process, the destruction of the old institutions is possible only through the transformation of the psychological underpinnings that held those institutions together. They neglected the idea that class struggle must be understood, in the first instance, as an ideological confrontation: The world is made and changed only through humans’ mind, through his will for work, through his desire for happiness, i.e., through his psychology. This is in contrast to classical Marxism that focused only on the “economy.” If a global economic and political policy intends to create and maintain international socialism, then it must relate to the trivial, banal, primitive, and simple every-day life; as well as to the desires of the broadest masses. This is the only way by which the objective structural process and the subjective conscious process interact and solve the contradiction and distance that exist between the two.

A revolutionary struggle, especially in its initial stages, primarily involves an ideological process. A political movement is defined by its political consciousness, which involves the slow and diffuse flow of ideas and life experiences, and is shaped by an organic fusion of the “personal” realm and the “cultural” realm with the “political” realm. Man is primarily mind or consciousness. This means that man is a product of history, not nature. Historically, man has been able to gain knowledge about his worth only very slowly. This knowledge has been gained in one sector of society and then slowly expanded to other sectors of society. This knowledge was gained based on intelligent reasoning, not based on brute physiological needs. This knowledge was gained first by a few and then slowly by entire social classes. They could perceive the causes of the development of certain social facts, and they could imagine that there might be possible ways of converting prevailing social repression into rebellion and social reconstruction. This means that a revolution is preceded by an intense social criticism, cultural penetration, and diffusion. The proletarian revolution needs to replace every component of the bourgeoisie order  – i.e., cultural, economic, and political. Socialism needs to create its own culture  – i.e., its own popular poetry, drama, painting, ballet, and literature  – in order to gain its ideological hegemony as an integral part of its overall revolutionary strategy. In the implementation of this strategy, socialism needs to build on embryonic currents of cultural protest and revolt.


4  Revolution: Four Paradigmatic Views

Revolutionary process involves continuous ideological encounters, which occur beyond the economy. A decisive socialist rupture with capitalism requires a profound transformation of consciousness in the great majority of people. For instance, the objective conditions for socialist revolution – i.e., the alienation of labor and the exploitation of labor in capitalist society – have existed in Europe for many decades, but there has been no revolution. This is because the subjective element – i.e., the mass socialist consciousness – has been lacking. The socialist consciousness gives political meaning to the ongoing crises of capitalism. Immediate economic crises by themselves do not produce events that bring fundamental historical change. They only create a more favorable context for the dissemination of some specific modes of thought that pose and resolve issues which are related to the entire subsequent development of national life. There is a dialectical relationship between the structure and the ideology. It is necessary to focus on making collective consciousness active so that it can intervene to transform structures such that the qualitative move from capitalism to socialism can be made. Consciousness is not an abstract realm of thought, which is detached from everyday life. It, instead, is a concrete political force. It is a complex combination of ideas, beliefs, feelings, and sentiments which are embodied in the daily experiences of a specific social stratum or social class. It is the defining characteristic of political action. It shapes political struggle. It is the medium that popular strata can use to become self-determining revolutionary subjects. Revolutionaries need to avoid designing and creating hierarchical political structures that operate “above” the realm of people’s everyday existence, i.e., detached from historically evolved grass-roots organs such as agrarian collectives, cooperatives, peoples’ assemblies, workers’ councils, and neighborhood groups. Although these institutions may not be “socialist” in their nature at any given time, they can take more revolutionary forms through the dialectical, organic activity of “organized elements.” In contrast, when revolutionary organization is designed and created as a self-contained political instrumentality  – i.e., it has definite boundaries between politics and people’s daily life – then the struggle loses its popular dimension. In struggle, and especially during the initial stages of creating a movement, the activities of human beings in their history to define their own existence are inevitably impure and contradictory, and it is a major error if one expects that all manifestations of revolt, dissent, and opposition against established authorities to be ideologically coherent from the very beginning, without the help of “external” sources. The crucial issue is the way socialists can most effectively build upon embryonic popular struggles. This is because all expressions of anger, despair, and alienation in class society are potential sources of the erosion of the prevailing ideological hegemony. In order for any revolutionary idea to achieve the status of being liberating, first it has to be able to analyze and transcend “common sense.” No revolutionary idea can afford any longer the luxury of competing with the existing philosophies at the level of high culture. A revolutionary idea needs to involve itself with the routine life of the masses. A revolutionary idea’s historical task is to politicize the incoherent and fragmentary ideas of “common sense” that has several characteristics in

3  Radical Humanist View


b­ ourgeois society. Socialist revolution needs to be brought about by self-conscious workers and other oppressed strata who strive to overturn the barriers to their emancipation which they experience in their daily lives under bourgeoisie. A revolutionary change requires the active participation of an “external element” – i.e., the intellectuals, and the party – in the class struggle for enhancing mass consciousness. Anti-capitalist opposition can assume different expressions. The spontaneous, unmediated revolt of the working class is contaminated by the preexisting categories of thought and behavior due to the ideological hegemony of bourgeoisie. The proletariat needs to transcend its concrete position in capitalist society and move toward a revolutionary understanding and conceptualization of its self-activity. There are diverse tendencies – as there were fascist tendencies – within the working class. It is erroneous to presuppose that the working class will gain self-­ consciousness through the natural forces in history. Socialism does not come about through the organic outgrowth of a maturing proletariat in advanced capitalism, but it does come about through the winning of a set of objectives in the process of creative political construction or architectonics. The working class needs a concretely positive, transformative external element that can give shape to revolutionary strategy. A revolutionary theory needs to move the oppressed beyond their concerns about their everyday life and at the same time maintain their spontaneous energies. A revolutionary theory needs to give a sense of identity to political struggles and seriously challenge any restrictive influence of the established order, including various forms of popular consciousness, i.e., “common sense,” which is a disaggregated collection of sentiments, ideals, myths, superstitions, etc., in which it is possible to find any tendency: conservative, reformist, reactionary, revolutionary, communist, maximalist, liberal democrat, or fascist. In a bourgeois regime, the monopoly of the press is in the hands of capitalism. This enables the government and political parties to impose political issues based on their interests but present them as the general interest. Furthermore, in a bourgeois regime, the freedom of association and meetings of the working class are suppressed and restricted, and the most disrespectful lies against communism are intentionally spread wide. As a result, inevitably, the working class remains fragmented, that is, with many different tendencies. Common sense, or mass consciousness, is ambiguous, contradictory, and multiform. Any reference to common sense as a confirmation of truth is nonsense. The potential for the success of socialist consciousness ultimately depends on a critique of common sense. For instance, Catholicism is an ideology that indulged the masses in their fragmentary, superstitious, and spontaneity attitudes. Socialist consciousness needs to raise mass consciousness above this mundane level by creating “good sense” in place of “common sense.” Because of the pervasiveness of the ideological hegemony of bourgeoisie, all immediate, i.e., unmediated, responses are inevitably conditioned by the dominant structures and values. Therefore, common sense cannot bear positive elements of the new order. Critical awareness does not emerge either strictly out of productive relations or out of a crisis. Revolutionary consciousness is both a moral-intellectual and political phenomenon. It initially evolves outside the organic processes of everyday


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struggle of the oppressed people. Ideas and opinions are not spontaneously generated in each individual’s brain. They are generated in a center of formation, irradiation, dissemination, and persuasion. More specifically, they are generated by a group of individuals, or even by a single individual, that developed them and presented them in the existing form of political reality. All social groups have at least an embryonic worldview, which has a distorted and incoherent image of reality. However, the common sense of these social groups is not fixed and stable, because it is constantly changing as a result of the influence of new philosophical and scientific discoveries. The political content of the common sense can become revolutionary only when a powerful counter-hegemonic force – i.e., the “external element” – infuses and diffuses the socialist worldview. Without such a force, a popular revolt will most likely be overtaken by the prevailing bourgeois hegemony or perhaps follow in the direction of reactionary populism. If revolutionaries neglect, or worse yet despise, people’s spontaneous movements – i.e., do not provide them with a conscious leadership, or do not raise them to a higher plane by combining the movements with politics – then the movements may experience extremely serious consequences. Revolutionary mass consciousness – the belief of broad socialist beliefs and values spread among rising people – does not simply appear, but evolves during an historical transformation in which the leadership of external forces – e.g., Marxist intellectuals of bourgeois origin – demystifies the ideological hegemony of bourgeoisie, and introduces new ways of understanding the alienation in the class society. Workers and peasants initially express their discontent in a generally diffuse and fragmentary way, which often takes the form of a simple anti-authoritarianism such as dislike of officialdom – the only way that the state is perceived. This hatred is characteristically semifeudal rather than modern and is not an evidence of class consciousness – although it may be regarded as the first glimmer of such consciousness. In other words, at any given moment, mass uprising may come up with some partial, confused ideologies or utopias which might be developed to a more mature critical consciousness (Marxism), through the intervention of political leadership. Such mass uprising may alternatively drift back into a sense of fatalistic despair and passivity as a result of repression or serious political failures. The crucial problem for revolutionaries is to move from the objective reality of oppression to revolutionary subjectivity. This transition requires a fundamental qualitative change in popular consciousness. That is, there is a need for a qualitative change from the “corporate economic” to the “political” such that the interests of one group can and must become the interests of other subordinate groups as well. That is, “political” is equated with “mature socialist consciousness.” The “corporate” stage of consciousness is founded on economic self-interest (e.g., most of the trade union activities) and can never surpass bourgeois reformism. It raises specific claims within isolated sectors of the economy (crafts, occupations, enterprises) and, therefore, practically ignores the importance of class solidarity and the building of multiclass alliances. The political understanding of the anti-capitalist struggle means the opposition to the entirety of the bourgeois system, including the entire foundation of the legitimacy of class domination.

4  Radical Structuralist View


This transition is the most purely political phase. It is the crucial passage from the sphere of structure to the sphere of superstructures. It is the phase in which ideologies further develop and become parties, which confront and conflict each other. At some point, only one of them, or a single combination of them, prevails. This one, after gaining the upper hand, unifies not only economic and political aims but also morality and intellectual activity. It brings out all the issues around which the struggle rages on a “universal” plane, not on a “corporate” plane. In this way, it creates the hegemony of a fundamental social group over a series of subordinate groups. The transformation of consciousness needs to be initiated by revolutionary intellectuals, who act as a mediating force outside the production process. Afterward, the masses themselves need to become the long-run bearers of revolutionary change. This is because masses, not an organized party leadership, must ultimately create socialism. Otherwise, political struggle only leads to the reproduction of the hierarchical social and authority relations of bourgeois society. The new consciousness needs to become the basis of a new “integrated culture.” The new consciousness must, therefore, be embodied in everyday social processes, instead of remaining in the domain of party elites. Revolution has both intellectual (ideological) and institutional dimensions. Therefore, revolutionary theory and strategy can only be advanced in the context of total concrete human existence, not as an autonomous struggle restricted to the intellectuals. One of the basic revolutionary principles is that ideas are not born of other ideas, and philosophies are not born of other philosophies, but they are continually renewed expressions of real historical development. This dialectical view overcomes the polar dualism of intellectual vs. popular, organization and leadership vs. the spontaneous, and theoretical vs. everyday life. This view organically links the revolutionary intellectual worldview and the mass belief system within the same totality. Intellectual theory and mass consciousness are integrated through popular revolutionary struggle. Intellectuals and masses are formed by the same historical and ideological processes and must therefore cooperate in their common struggle against the bourgeois hegemony.

4  Radical Structuralist View The outline of the way a revolution takes place is as follows. The economic structure results in a specific social relation, which in turn results in a particular class arrangement. In a class-based society, there are two basic classes: one class that rules and exploits and the other class which is ruled and exploited. Individuals who are exploited become “alienated” from the dominant values and conducts. They are drawn together by their common class consciousness, i.e., their awareness of their common situation. Eventually, they form a large group. At a time when the exploited


4  Revolution: Four Paradigmatic Views

class is stronger than the ruling class, it overturns the ruling class and replaces the ruling class and becomes the new ruling class.4 There are continual conflicts among groups in a society. Conflicts emanate from concrete and specific social relations. These social relations are the source of the emergence of revolutionary situations. Social relations, in turn, are based upon particular economic structure, or mode of production. Human beings, in the social production of their life, enter into particular relations of production that are indispensable and independent of their will. Each particular set of relations of production corresponds to a particular stage of the development of their material productive forces. The totality of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society. This is the foundation of society, such that it underlies the legal and political superstructure of society, as well as the requisite social consciousness. Each aspect of society reflects the economic structure. For instance, the individual in society reflects the economic base. The individual cannot be considered in isolation from his social context. Any reference to an individual must simultaneously refer to his environment. There are many factors in society, other than the economic structure, which shape the consciousness of the individual in society. For instance, the state can shape the psyche of the members of a social organization. But, the state is neither separate nor independent from the economic structure. Indeed, the state itself is a reflection of the economic structure. Society is divided into classes. Class differentiation is the decisive factor in the formation of the body politic. Classes are differentiated based on property ownership. In society, those who own property become the dominant or ruling class, and those who do not own property are the dominated, or the exploited, class. The state is an instrument at the service of the ruling class for the exploitation and dominance of the other class. The state is an instrument of the ruling class for the violence and control of the other class. The state reflects the property relations and, correspondingly, the class relations. In other words, state and property are interrelated with each other. The entire human history has been marked by a sequence of revolutionary changes. Human society has been founded on the mode of production, which determines the arrangement of classes. So far, three epochs have experienced in human history. In each particular epoch, there has been one dominant mode of production, as follows: 1 . In the ancient epoch, the mode of production was slave labor. 2. In the feudal society, the mode of production was serf labor. 3. In the modern, bourgeois society, the mode of production is wage labor

4  For this literature, see Blackburn (1976), Dahrendorf (1959), Draper (1977-1990), Goldstone (1994), Lenin (1966), Malecki (1973), Marx (1859), Marx and Engels (1964), Sanderson (2005), Soboul (1975), Timasheff (1965), Trotsky (1957), and Woddis (1972). This section is based on Cohan (1975).

4  Radical Structuralist View


In ancient times, the mode of production was slavery. In that period, slaves could be sold by one owner to another. In feudal times, the serf was tied to the land, but not owned by the landowner. The serf worked on the land and retained only some of the food that he raised. Most of the food thus raised belonged to the landlord. In modern bourgeois society, the worker belongs neither to an owner nor to the land but a good number of hours of his daily living time belong to whoever buys them. In effect, the worker sells a part of himself as a commodity at a wage rate to the capitalist who owns the means of production. A social revolution is a fundamental change in the mode of production and its subsequent changes in all subordinate aspects of society. Revolution is the movement, passage, or transition, from one particular epoch to the next epoch. Revolution involves the change in the mode of production that characterizes each epoch. No social order is surpassed before all the productive forces that can develop in it have developed. The new, higher relations of production never take effect before the material conditions of their existence have fully developed in the old social order. It is the society that needs to create for itself the revolutionary point of departure  – i.e., the situation, the relations, and the conditions which are required for modern revolution to become serious. The epoch of capitalism has been dominated by the growth of bourgeoisie. The emergence of the bourgeoisie did not result in the elimination of class antagonism, but it resulted in the development of new conditions of oppression. Indeed, the distinctive feature of capitalism, as compared with previous epochs, is that it has simplified the class antagonisms. Capitalist society, as a whole, increasingly polarizes into two great hostile camps, i.e., into two great classes, which directly confront each other: bourgeoisie and proletariat. The bourgeoisie was once a revolutionary class. It was when bourgeoisie constantly altered and developed society. The bourgeois class also rooted out the old forms or residues of the past, i.e., the feudal society that had come before. In addition, the bourgeoisie has constantly been revolutionizing the instruments of production, i.e., the particular technology of the industry of the period. This is an aspect of this epoch that has enormous ramifications. This is because the bourgeoisie’s continual revolutionizing of society leads to the next revolution. The most crucial aspect of the bourgeois epoch is the development of capital, which is a social relation of production, i.e., a bourgeois production relation. In this epoch, the only relation that bound men together is money payment. But this money payment is possible only in a society in which labor power is available for sale to bourgeoisie. Capital and labor presuppose each other. They mutually condition the existence of each other. This is one of the most significant aspects of the bourgeois society because it leads to the identification of the other class that develops in bourgeois society. As the bourgeoisie, i.e., as capital, develops, proportionally the proletariat, i.e., the modern working class, develops. The class of laborers consists of laborers whose lives depend on finding work, and they can find work only when their work increases capital. The development of the industrial bourgeoisie conditions the development of the industrial proletariat. It is only with the development and rule of the bourgeoisie that


4  Revolution: Four Paradigmatic Views

the proletariat can gain its extensive national existence and consequently raise its revolution to a national level such that it creates the modern means of its revolutionary emancipation. The bourgeoisie’s rule destroys the material roots of the feudal society and paves the way on which only a proletarian revolution is possible. The organic composition of capital is the relation of constant to variable capital. Constant capital consists of investment in plant and materials as well as depreciation of fixed capital. Constant capital constitutes the relatively stable part of the cost of the product which is manufactured. Variable capital is spent on wages, which is paid to buy the “commodity” that the worker is selling. Variable capital constitutes the continually changing part of the cost of the product which is manufactured. The capitalist’s profit is the difference between the sale value of the product and the combined cost of constant and variable capital. Profit changes as the wage rate changes because constant capital is a fixed amount. The worker sells his labor power at a particular wage rate, but what he produces has a higher value than what he receives as wage rate. The difference between his wage rate and the value of his product is the surplus value. Any capitalist desires to increase his profit. Any worker desires to increase his wages. The sales price of products rises – due to the capitalist’s desire to maximize profits – at a faster rate than wages, such that in relative terms, the worker’s deprivation increases. In the bourgeois epoch, the working class – i.e., the proletariat – develops, but its position weakens. This sets the stage for the coming revolution. The proletarian revolution eliminates the conflict-ridden society that man had always known. The proletarian is the latest exploited class. It becomes increasingly “alienated” as the bourgeois epoch passes through its various stages. Alienation is a major step toward revolution. Alienation refers to the effects of the capitalist mode of production on the worker. It is related to revolution. There are three social conditions that contribute to the process of alienation. The first contributing factor is the transformation of man and his working power into a commodity. That is, the worker sells his labor to the capitalist, whose aim is to accumulate more capital. Capitalists’ profit maximization requires the variable capital, i.e., the worker’s wage rate, be kept relatively low. The profit can increase rapidly if the price of labor, i.e., the wage rate, decreases rapidly. The profit can increase rapidly even if wage rates grow such that, in relative terms, wage rates constantly drop. This is a contradiction. Capital grows rapidly, and wage rates may rise. However, the profit of capitalist rises incomparably more rapidly. The material position of the worker, in absolute terms improves, but his relative position deteriorates. The social gap between the worker and the capitalist widens. The second contributing factor is the division of labor. As a bourgeois society becomes more complex, and the technology becomes more advanced, the function of the individual worker at work becomes more narrowly focused. While in the past, the worker assembled a whole automobile with a group of workers in a garage; now, the worker waits on an automobile assembly line in order to turn a screw, or spot weld a particular joint, in an automobile that is passing by. The extensive use of machinery and the division of labor lead to a situation where the work of the proletarians no longer has its individual charm for the worker. The

4  Radical Structuralist View


worker becomes an appendage of the machine, and his work becomes the most simple, the most monotonous, and the most easily acquired skill. Therefore, the cost of the production of a workman is limited to what is required for his maintenance and the propagation of his race. As the work becomes more repulsive, the wage rate becomes more negligible. As the use of machinery increases, and as the division of labor becomes narrower, the burden of work also intensifies, whether by the increase in the number of hours worked, by the increase in the amount of work exacted during a given time period, or by the increase in the speed of machinery, etc. The third contributing factor is the private property. The worker develops and builds objects, but the worker does not get to own these objects. That is, the fruit of the labor of the worker is treated as a commodity, in the same way that his labor power is treated as a commodity. In bourgeois society, the conditions of production dehumanize the worker. In other words, when the products of the workers’ creative self-realizing activity are taken away from him, then what he retains is only his biological animal-like functions. Thus, alienation is a process through which workers find themselves to have become commodities. Workers’ relative impoverishment grows with the growth of the capitalist society, which is based on the increasing rate of the advancement of technology. A typical worker senses a growing loss of humanity and function, looks around, and finds that other workers are in the same situation: the bourgeoisie is getting relatively richer, while the worker is getting relatively poorer. At this point, class consciousness emerges. Classes are defined in terms of property ownership. Those who have property are the exploiters, and those who do not have property are the exploited. The exploited class does not have any particular political role in society until its members become aware of the exploitation they have been subjected to. Social classes are constituted when they organize themselves and participate in political conflicts. Social classes organize themselves when individuals themselves become aware of their common situation. When individuals first join together, they are not completely aware of their common goal. When the members of the working class become knowledgeable about their common situation, then they start to develop such common goals. The goal of the working class is the destruction of the bourgeois state and, therefore, the bourgeoisie. In the initial phase of the epoch of bourgeois dominance, workers are scattered over the whole country, are broken up by their mutual competition, and form an incoherent mass. Although workers battle for better living conditions, they do not make gains for themselves. Instead, they help to strengthen the power of the bourgeoisie in the destruction of some of the remnants of the past epoch, i.e., feudal epoch. However, with the pronouncement of the industrial growth, workers become concentrated in great industrial centers. Economic cycles more rapidly deteriorate the living conditions of workers. Thus, workers form unions and trade associations and begin to fight with the bourgeoisie. In general, workers are defeated, but occasionally they get a taste of short-lived victory, which provides them with the impetus for more gains.


4  Revolution: Four Paradigmatic Views

At some point, in response to the working class pressures, the bourgeoisie needs to make certain concessions, such as shorter working days, or recognition of workers’ parties. But, the bourgeoisie can only make so many concessions before its own position becomes untenable. This is because with each concession, the bourgeoisie merely weakens its own control on the social situation. When the ruling group, i.e., the bourgeoisie, notices that it is about to become unacceptably weaker, it increases the repression. It is notable for the working class that after every victory, marking the working class’ success, the purely repressive character of the state power stands out increasingly bolder. When the critical stage reaches, a number of the former members of the ruling class, i.e., the bourgeoisie, begin to join the soon-to-be-victorious working class. But, even with these new allies, of all classes that fight against the bourgeoisie, the proletariat is the only real revolutionary class. A revolution cannot succeed if only a small group of people oppose the ruling authorities. A revolution can no longer succeed by surprise attacks or by small groups of conscious minorities at the head of unconscious masses. A revolution involves a complete transformation. Therefore, masses themselves must also be in it, i.e., they themselves must already know what is at stake and what they are going in for (with body and soul). In order for the working class to attain both its own emancipation, and that higher form toward which the present society is irresistibly tending by its own economical agencies, the working class needs to go through long struggles and to go through several historic processes that transform both the circumstances and men. Thus, even if objective conditions are met – i.e., even if the bourgeoisie epoch has reached a high stage of development – the subjective condition must be met before the revolution can occur. The subjective condition refers to the development of class consciousness, which is widespread and leads to class organization. The development of consciousness depends on the progressive tendencies of the bourgeoisie itself. The bourgeoisie was the original “revolutionizing” class. The growth of bourgeoisie allowed for the growth of the working class. The working class eventually destroys the bourgeoisie upon whose very existence the working class depends for its own growth and development. After the overthrow of the bourgeoisie, there will be the eventual formation of the new society. In the new society, men are freed from the antagonisms and hatreds that stemmed from class-based society. Men would live together in harmony. The proletarian revolution involves not only the destruction of the previous mode of production, which led to the particular structure of social relations, but also the establishment of the new epoch, which is free from class antagonisms. The proletarian revolution leads to the dictatorship of the proletariat, which constitutes the transition to the abolition of all classes and to a classless society. Between capitalist and communist society, there is the period of the revolutionary transformation of the capitalist into the communist society. Corresponding to this, there is also a political transition period, i.e., the eventual abolition of the state. The state is the instrument of the ruling class used in order to control the exploited class. When no classes exist, there is no reason for the state to exist, since the state is merely a reflection of the class structure in society. But in the period immediately



after the proletarian seizure of power, the remnants of the old order still exist because the instantaneous conversion of the members of the bourgeoisie is not likely to occur. When the elements of bourgeois disappear from society, the state, i.e., the instrument of oppression, disappears as well.

5  Conclusion This chapter briefly discussed four views expressed with respect to revolution. The functionalist paradigm believes that revolutions are the products of dysfunctional social systems, in which the adaptive mechanisms and the value structure are incompatible, which should be prevented and avoided. The interpretive paradigm believes that ideas and actors, not structures and long-term history, are the primary driving forces in revolutionary processes. The radical humanist paradigm believes that revolutions spring from the politicization of all aspects of everyday life. The radical structuralist paradigm believes that revolutions are based on antagonistic social classes, which are differentiated based on property ownership, i.e., those who own property become the dominant or ruling class, and those who do not own property are the dominated, or the exploited, class. Each paradigm is logically coherent – in terms of its underlying assumptions – and conceptualizes and studies the phenomenon in a certain way and generates distinctive kinds of insight and understanding. Therefore, different paradigms in combination provide a broader understanding of the phenomenon under consideration. An understanding of different paradigms leads to a better understanding of the multifaceted nature of the phenomenon.

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Dahrendorf, Ralf, (1959), Class and Class Conflict in Industrial Society, Stanford, California: Stanford University Press. Davis, James C., (1962), “Toward a Theory of Revolution,” American Sociological Review, 27:1, February, 5-19. Davis, James C., (1969), “The J-Curve of Rising and Declining Satisfactions as a Cause of Some Great Revolutions and a Contained Rebellion,” in Graham, Hugh Davis and Gurr, Ted Robert, (eds.), Violence in America: Historical and Comparative Perspectives, New York, New York, Chapter 19. Debray, Regis, (1967), Revolution in Revolution?, New York, New York: International Publishers. Draper, Hal, (1977-1990), Karl Marx’s Theory of Revolution, vol. 1-4, New  York, New  York: Monthly Review Press. Edwards, Lyford P., (1927, 1972), The Natural History of Revolution, Chicago, Illinois: University of Chicago Press. Eisenstadt, S.N., (1978), Revolution and the Transformation of Societies: A Comparative Study of Civilizations, New York, New York: Free Press. Fanon, Frantz, (1963), The Damned, New York, New York: Grove. Fanon, Frantz, (1964), The Wretched of the Earth, New York, New York: Grove. Feierabend, Ivo K., Feierabend, Rosalind L., and Nesvold, Betty A., (1969), “Social Change and Political Violence: Cross-National Comparisons,” in Graham, Hugh David and Gurr, Ted Robert, (eds.), Violence in America: Historical and Comparative Perspectives, New  York, New York, Chapter 18. Foran, John, (1997), “Discourses and Social Forces: The Role of Culture and Cultural Studies in Understanding Revolutions,” in Foran, John, (ed.), Theorizing Revolutions, London, England: Routledge, Chapter 8, pp. 197-220. Goldstone, Jack A., (1986), “Revolutions and Superpowers,” in Adelman, Jonathan R., (ed.), Superpowers and Revolutions, New York, New York: Praeger, Chapter 4, pp. 38-48. Goldstone, Jack A., (1994), Revolutions: Theoretical, Comparative, and Historical Studies, Second Edition, New York, New York: Harcourt Brace College Publishing. Gramsci, Antonio, (1971), Selections from the Prison Notebooks, New  York, New  York: International Publishers. Gurr, Ted Robert, (1970), Why Men Rebel, Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. Huntington, Samuel P., (1968), Political Order in Changing Societies, New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press. Johnson, Chalmers, (1966), Revolutionary Change, Boston, Massachusetts: Little, Brown and Company. Kraminick, Isaac, (1972), “Reflections on Revolution: Definition and Explanation in Recent Scholarship,” History and Theory, 11:1, 26-63. Kuper, Leo, (1971), “Theories of Revolution and Race Relations,” Comparative Studies in Society and History, 13:1, January, 87-107. Lenin, Vladimir I., (1966), “The State and Revolution,” in Christman, Henry M., (ed.), Essential Works of Lenin, New York, New York: Bantam Books. Lukacs, Georg, (1971), History and Class Consciousness: Studies in Marxist Dialectics, Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press. Malecki, Edward S., (1973), “Theories of Revolution and Industrialized Societies,” Journal of Politics, 35:4, November, 948-985. Marcuse, Herbert, (1964), One Dimensional Man, Boston, Massachusetts: Beacon Press. Marcuse, Herbert, (1966), “Ethics and Revolution,” in De George, Richard T., (ed.), Ethics and Revolution: Original Essays on Contemporary Moral Problems, Garden City, New  York: Doubleday and Company, Inc. Marcuse, Herbert, (1968), “Re-Examination of the Concept of Revolution,” Diogenes, 64, Winter, 17-26. Marx, Karl, (1859), A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, Moscow, Russia: Progress Publishers.



Marx, Karl and Engels, Friedrich, (1964), The Communist Manifesto, New  York, New  York: Washington Square Press, Inc. Olson, Mancur, (1963), “Rapid Growth as a Destabilizing Force,” Journal of Economic History, 23, 529-552. Olson, Mancur, (1971), The Logic of Collective Action, New York, New York: Shoken Books. Petee, George Sawyer, (1938), The Process of Revolution, New York, New York: Harper and Row. Rapoport, Anatol, (1960), Fights, Games, and Debates, Ann Arbor, Michigan: University of Michigan Press. Sanderson, Stephen K., (2005), Revolutions: A Worldwide Introduction to Political and Social Change, Boulder, Colorado: Paradigm Publishers. Scott, James C., (1976), The Moral Economy of the Peasant: Rebellion and Subsistence in South East Asia, New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press. Scott, James C., (1990), Domination and the Arts of Resistance: Hidden Transcripts, New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press. Selbin, Eric, (1993), Modern Latin American Revolutions, Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press. Selbin, Eric, (1997), “Revolution in the Real World: Bringing Agency Back In,” in Foran, John, (ed.), Theorizing Revolutions, London, England: Routledge, Chapter 5, pp. 118-132. Sewell, William H., Jr., (1985), “Ideology and Social Revolutions: Reflections on the French Case,” Journal of Modern History, 57:1, March, 57-85. Singelmann, P., (1981), Structures of Domination and Peasant Movements in Latin America, Columbia, Missouri: University of Missouri Press. Skocpol, Theda, (1979), States and Social Revolutions: A Comparative Analysis of France, Russia, and China, Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. Smelser, Neil J., (1962), Theory of Collective Behavior, London, England: Routledge and Kegan Paul. Soboul, A., (1975), The French Revolution, 1787-1799: From the Storming of the Bastille to Napoleon, New York, New York: Vintage Books. Sorokin, Pitirim A., (1925), The Sociology of Revolution, New York, New York. Thompson, E.P., (1963), The Making of the English Working Class, New York, New York: Vintage Books. Tilly, Charles, (1975), “Revolutions and Collective Violence,” in Greenstein, Fred I. and Polsby, Nelson W., (eds.), Handbook of Political Science, vol. 3, Reading, Massachusetts: Addison-­ Wesley Publishing Company. Tilly, Charles, (1978), From Mobilization to Revolution, Reading, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley. Timasheff, Nicholas S., (1965), War and Revolution, New  York, New  York: Sheed and Ward (1965). Trotsky, Leon, (1957), The History of the Russian Revolution, Ann Arbor, Michigan: University of Michigan Press. Woddis, Jack, (1972), New Theories of Revolution: A Commentary on the Views of Frantz Fanon, Regis Debray and Herbert Marcuse, New York, New York: International Publishers. Zagorin, Perez, (1973), “Theories of Revolution in Contemporary Historiography,” Political Science Quarterly, 88:1, March, 23-52.

Chapter 5

Iranian Revolution: Four Paradigmatic Views

Any explanation of the Iranian revolution is based on a worldview. The premise of this book is that any worldview can be associated with one of the four broad paradigms: functionalist, interpretive, radical humanist, and radical structuralist. This chapter takes the case of the Iranian revolution and discusses it from the four different viewpoints. It emphasizes that the four views expressed are equally scientific and informative; they look at the phenomenon from their certain paradigmatic viewpoint; and together they provide a more balanced and a more comprehensive understanding of the phenomenon under consideration. In this chapter, Sect. 1, 2, 3, and 4 present the four perspectives, and Sect. 5 concludes the presentation.

1  Functionalist View Economic approach provides a useful explanation of the revolution in Iran. It sheds light on the problems which were faced by economic planners who were responsible for achieving material progress in an environment where there were limited information and structural change. It considers economic characteristics of the country in the 1960s and particularly the early and mid-1970s. More specifically, it focuses on Iranian development strategy  – its ideological foundation, rationale, method of implementation, and goals – the problems it created; the oil boom after 1973 and its consequent problems; and the way these problems interacted and reduced the ability of the government to manage the economy, which eventually led to a cumulative movement toward economic anarchy and revolution.1 1  For this literature see Amuzegar (1977), Ashraf and Banuazizi (1985), Chehabi (1990), Gasiorowski (1991), Goldstone (1986), Graham (1979), Hooglund (1982), Kazemi (1980, 1995), Looney (1982), Moran (1978-1979), Parsa (1989), Ramazani (1980), Reich (1980), and Walton (1980). This section is based on Looney (1982).

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020 K. Ardalan, Understanding Revolution, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-47591-8_5



5  Iranian Revolution: Four Paradigmatic Views

In this period of Iran’s economic history, there were massive economic and demographic changes. More specifically, there were sustained economic expansion, multi-billion dollar investments, and rapid growth of modern working and middle classes in new industries and expanded state services. The authority of traditional religious and cultural leaders was substantially reduced, and the agrarian reforms transferred land from some notable religious persons to commercial farmers. After the 1973 oil price rise, the influx of petroleum dollars led to speculation in land, high rates of inflation, and a relative decline in the standard of living of a large proportion of the population. The oil boom intensified the tensions that come with rapid and uneven development and increasingly affected the salaried and wage earning industrial workers as well as those in the more traditional sectors. In this period, the Shah antagonized the already hostile religious leaders by a cut in their government subsidies; irritated large portion of intelligentsia by the purchase of excessive amount of arms; hurt the traditional bazaar merchants by a reduction in their perceived due share of lucrative government contracts; and angered large firms by forcing them to sell their ownership shares to their workers. In this way, by the summer of 1977, the limited source of support for the Shah consisted of the army, a minute portion of high government officials, and a very small portion of the upper middle class. The rest of the population, i.e., the great majority of Iranians, actively or passively formed the ranks of the opposition. The fall of the Shah, i.e., the fall of the Pahlavi dynasty, was brought about not only by the loss of the support of the masses but also the Shah’s and his advisors’ lack of understanding of the enormous political importance of such loss. They failed to recognize the enormity of the power of socially mobilized and politically conscious popular forces. They ignored the fact that the modernization of Iran had created a new political, social, and cultural reality that made the traditional political system of Pahlavi era obsolete. The development process, by its very nature, created latent tensions, but it did not provide the authorities with any advance notice of the mass alienation which was developing within the country. The authorities, in contrast, had a very favorable evaluation of the climate of public and popular opinion. While the government was considering the development process and highly successful and widely accepted, it was caught by surprise when it encountered the opposition of the masses. Indeed, the economic problems that led to the collapse of the regime had one common characteristic: their impact on the economy and its constituent social groups was very difficult to anticipate, and after they were identified by the government, they were responded to by the authorities by inappropriate measures, which compounded the regime’s difficulties and finally led to the revolution. It is instructive to look at the history of economic development in Iran during the reign of Pahlavi dynasty, which consisted of Reza Shah (1925–1941) and Mohammad Reza Shah, who is known as the Shah. Attempts at industrializing and modernizing Iran started in the early 1920s, and the idea of economic development based on economic planning fully materialized after World War II. Reza Shah’s economic development policies were limited to partial investment programs for the public sector, and slight consideration was given to the activities

1  Functionalist View


of the private sector. Even the public sector programs were not reflective of any explicitly defined set of policy objectives, except for rapid industrialization and the development of the country’s infrastructure, while largely ignoring the agriculture. Specific investment projects were undertaken, but they were not given sufficient consideration to their interrelationship and their effects on important matters such as national income and its distribution. The most important policy instruments were investment programs, tax rates, wage and price control, and governments’ monopoly and control over foreign trade. The First Development Plan (1949–1955) was a collection of infrastructure projects which were expected to be implemented by the newly established public organization called “Plan Organization.” It did not consider the role of investment by the private sector. The 1951–1953 crisis over oil nationalization, during the premiership of Mohammad Mossadegh, led to political instability, unrest, interruption in oil production, and loss of oil revenues, which made the actual implementation of the plan impossible. But it resulted in an agreement between the Iranian government and a consortium of oil companies, which was made responsible to pay the Iranian government one-half of the consortium’s profits. The Second Development Plan (1955–1962) also placed emphasis on infrastructural projects, which were planned to be financed by oil revenues. The plan largely consisted of a set of independent projects which did not fit within any particular systematic framework. During this plan period, the growth in government expenditures and the growth in private sector credit produced Iran’s first major economic boom, which lasted for several years and which was most pronounced in urban housing and industry. The economic expansion reflected government’s expansionary fiscal policy and its relaxation of the restrictions which were previously placed on the importation of capital equipment. By the end of 1960, the monetary-induced boom resulted in excessively rising prices and a large and growing current account deficit. In response, the government embarked on an economic stabilization program which was proposed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). This program was composed of a set of standard IMF measures such as contraction of private sector credit, increase in interest rates, reduction in imports, and decrease in government spending. These measures turned the 1957–1960 boom into a deep recession. Both private sector investment and public sector investment dropped substantially. The deep recession most seriously affected the more traditional sectors such as agriculture, construction, and domestic trade, which mostly reflects the economic activities of the bazaar. The modern sector, in contrast, grew during the deep recession. The stabilization program had asymmetrical impact on the traditional and the modern sectors of the economy and, consequently, led to social and economic problems. The most serious problem was the growing mass discontent among low-­ income urban groups (largely consisting of unemployed migrant construction workers) and the bazaar merchants (who were most severely affected by government’s monetary contractionary and import restrictive policies). The government responded by several reforms, including land reform, profit sharing in industry, female suffrage, nationalization of forests, conversion of


5  Iranian Revolution: Four Paradigmatic Views

s­ tate-­owned industries to private-owned enterprises, and the formation of literary corps. These reforms acted against the interests of various groups such as landed upper class, propertied middle class, ulama (religious leaders), and bazaar merchants. Thus, reforms, rather than relieving existing social tensions, further aggravated certain groups who formed alliances, most importantly of which was the alliance between ulama and the bazaar merchants against the government. The social tensions, in June 1963, led to a series of mass anti-regime demonstrations, which were quickly and brutally suppressed. During the Second Development Plan, despite increase in its oil revenue, Iran faced difficulties such as strong inflationary pressures and rapid loss of official foreign exchange reserves. These problems were not caused exclusively by the government’s excess spending but had their origin in more fundamental structural problem that characterized the economy at that time. The growth in output which was experienced in the late 1950s and early 1960s was limited to a few traditional Iranian products and industries. Agriculture, which was the major sector of the economy, remained stagnant in the meantime. No new, dynamic sector was started either by the increase in the oil revenue or by the risk-­ taking of private entrepreneurs, who made their contribution to the future growth doubtful. Inflation accompanied the country’s economic growth and reached levels that were inconsistent with the long-run growth of the economy. Inflation, despite the additional availability of foreign exchange, increased because the increase in foreign exchange was used to expand employment and wage bill, which caused the demand for domestically produced commodities to expand at a faster rate than that of supply. Although the steep recession of 1960–1962 played a crucial role in fermenting a revolutionary and broad-based opposition to the regime, it could not have led to such results by itself. Religious groups played an important role by organizing political opposition and mobilizing the masses. The development of adverse economic conditions prepared the ground for the growth of the ulama’s particular brand of opposition, which eventually flourished and succeeded in the 1979 revolution. The government’s harsh suppression of the 1963 demonstrations promoted the oppositional position of the leading religious groups and gave impetus to the ulama’s opposition to the Shah’s regime to the extent that they played a very important role in the 1979 revolution. The Third Development Plan (1962–1967) was essentially a program of public sector investment and included several forecasts of private sector activities. Economic growth was the dominant objective of the plan, while employment and income distribution received relatively minimal consideration, balance of payments was of minor concern, and price stability was hardly even considered. In the implementation of the Third Development Plan, during the early period of 1962–1963, the country experienced favorable balance of payments as a result of the recessionary conditions which prevailed in this early period and the corresponding stabilization program. During this 1962–1963 period, the import restrictions reduced private sector’s imports such that private sector’s use of the foreign exchange was brought more in conformity with the country’s ability to earn foreign exchange.

1  Functionalist View


During the later period of 1964–1967, especially after 1965, the balance of payments situation changed because the increase in the foreign exchange, earnings of the oil sector was more than offset by the increase in investment and imports. This deficit was partly financed by substantial foreign loans and the central bank’s foreign exchange reserves. During the Third Development Plan, the money supply was kept under control, and the overall level of prices remained relatively stable. While the first 2 years of the plan period were years of recession, in the subsequent years of economic recovery, there was a substantial increase in the domestic supply of goods and services as a result of fuller utilization of the existing idle capacity together with the start of the production by those capital intensive plants which were initiated in the Second Development Plan. Furthermore, in the last 2  years of the plan, the government actively pursued a price stabilization policy by importing those products for which significant shortages were experienced. The Fourth Development Plan (1968–1972) had several objectives: (1) increase in economic growth (by gradual increases in the relative importance of industry, improvement in the productivity of capital, and introduction of advanced techniques of production); (2) more equitable distribution of income; (3) less dependence on foreign countries and more diversity in exports; and (4) improvement in administrative services (by fundamental changes in the administrative system through advanced managerial techniques in all public and private organizations). The plan aimed at maximizing full-time productive employment by (1) absorbing anyone who seeks employment and (2) gradually converting unproductive or low-­productive employment into stable and productive employment. The Fourth Development Plan met most of its targets. The rate of growth during this period was about 11.6%, which exceeded the target rate by about 2%. The value added in all sectors, except for agriculture and construction, either attained or surpassed their targets. Agriculture had the lowest growth rate at 3.9% per year. Oil and services had the highest growth rates at 15.2% and 14.2%, respectively. The growth in services was twice the targeted rate, and it was mainly due to the rapid expansion of government services. Industry grew at the rate of 14% per year in real terms. The overall employment targets was also surpassed, as the actual employment increased by 1.2 million compared to the target of 966,000. Agricultural employment, however, declined by 202,000  in comparison with the target of 226,000. Industrial employment, on the other hand, increased by 737,000, which is more than the target increase of 417,000. Services sector had the most substantial increase in employment, which was an increase of 720,000 or 60% of the total employment during the period. Prices were not stable during the period. The GNP implicit price deflator rose at an annual rate of 4.3% over this period, as compared with 0.6% during the Third Plan period. Although, during the first 2 years of the plan period, the overall level of prices remained relatively stable, in the last 2 years of the plan, prices increased at about 6% per year. More specifically, the wholesale price index and the consumer price index, in 1971, rose by 7.1% and 5.5%, respectively, and in 1972, they rose by 5.5% and 6.3%, respectively. The general price level, during the Fourth Plan period,


5  Iranian Revolution: Four Paradigmatic Views

was positively related to the overall shortage of supply, especially in agriculture and construction sectors, and with movements in world prices. Although most of the Fourth Plan targets were met, it became clear, by the early 1970s, that the country’s development prospects were not good. While oil production was reaching its capacity level, the country’s foreign debt repayment and interest payment were a major drain on the its foreign exchange reserves, and both development and military expenses were growing rapidly. The agricultural sector encountered several problems: (1) relative stagnation; (2) growth in demand for food products in the urban centers, as a result of the rising level of income; and (3) increased urbanization. The country, therefore, decided to meet the increasing food requirements through imports, which put further downward pressure on the foreign exchange reserves. Oil price adjustments, which took place between 1971 and 1973, temporarily relieved the balance of payments pressure. However, the long-run problems were not dealt with properly, and, by the end of the Fourth Development Plan, the government was foreseeing a major balance of payments crisis to occur during the Fifth Development Plan. During the decade 1964–1973, the country followed three major goals. First, economic development was followed at the expense of all other possible programs, except defense. For this purpose, during the 1960s, the government emphasized investment in import substitution industries and subsidized public credit for industrial and manufacturing projects. Second, the government followed investment in infrastructure. For this purpose, the government made heavy investment in infrastructure and social capital projects. Third, the government sought to better utilize the country’s oil and gas resources. This was because, by the 1970s, oil production was approaching capacity, no major oil discoveries had been made for many years, prospects for major oil discoveries were limited, foreign oil companies had not extracted natural gas in secondary recovery for foreign sale, and the government was not in a position to control the rate of oil production and exports. Therefore, the government aimed at having greater control over the operation of the oil industry. During the same decade, the government strengthened the country’s defense capabilities. Before the Third Development Plan, increases in military spending were sporadic and relatively low. During the Third Development Plan (1962–1968), the government rapidly developed its military capabilities. In 1968, the government made a major shift in its budget toward defense spending, which was made in response to Great Britain’s announcement that it was withdrawing its military presence from the Persian Gulf, as well as the growing rebellion in Oman. The government’s military expenditure, between 1966 and 1973, rose from $370 million to over $2.6 billion, which was a sevenfold increase that was accompanied by about $2 billion in armaments imports. Iran’s development plans included the adoption of an import substitution strategy, which combined with the rising oil revenues and political stability, resulted in high profit expectations, and, therefore, led to a high and sustained growth in the industrial sector in the 1960s and into the 1970s. The value added in manufacturing, during the 1963–1972 period, grew at the rate of 12.3% per year; and as a percentage of total domestic value added, its share increased from 12.6% to 14.5%. This

1  Functionalist View


high degree of industrialization was achieved through a considerable amount of investment in construction as well as investment in machinery and equipment, which were imported. During the Third and the Fourth Development Plans, gross fixed investment grew at the rate of 16% per year, and fixed investment in machinery and equipment grew at the rate of 20% per year. As a percentage of total imports, the imports of intermediate and capital goods increased, and the imports of consumer goods decreased. As a percentage of total non-military merchandise imports, the imports of consumer goods consistently declined from 30% in 1959 to less than 11% in 1969. Iran’s implementation of import substitution industrialization policy created severe imbalances among economic sectors. As a result of the change in the terms of trade against agriculture (due to the relatively higher cost of the manufacturing sector compared to the agricultural sector), agricultural production declined. The government allocated a part of oil revenue to the import of substantial amounts of food, which were sold at constant prices. As a consequence, Iran, in the 1970s, was not only a net importer of agricultural products (including grains), but also the gap between its consumption of foodstuffs and its domestic production of foodstuffs was widening at an alarming rate. In this process, Iranian agricultural sector became marginalized. Around 1970, peasants lived in poverty and urban groups were heavily dependent on agricultural imports. In 1972 and 1973, there were sharp increases in world food prices, and there was uncertainty regarding future prices and availabilities. Agriculture was given a low priority in the first four development plans. Even though agriculture was given more emphasis in the Fifth Development Plan, it was too difficult to reverse the adverse trends which had already been set by the first four development plans. Rural-urban migration was also a problem. This process started in the 1930s but was accelerating rapidly by the early 1970s. In the mid-1970s, the annual rate of migration of rural workers to the cities was about 8% of the rural population. The most important cause of this migration was the widening economic gap between urban and rural dwellers. In the mid-1970s, the average per capita income of urban dwellers compared to that of rural dwellers was over five to one. In addition, the following factors increased the attractiveness of the urban living: educational opportunities, social services, and status, which was due to the lack of amenities in most rural areas. These problems emanated from the government’s development programs with respect to the rural sector in general and agriculture in particular. Iran’s agrarian policy was an outgrowth of its industrial strategy. In its development plans, the government envisioned that a consumption-oriented urban society would bring national prosperity and power that would sustain the country into the future when the oil income declines. With this long-run strategy, the agricultural sector was expected to play, at most, a supportive role in supplying needed raw materials, labor, and food. In rural areas, there were massive poverty, general dissatisfaction with prevailing conditions, and sluggish growth in agricultural production. These conditions made unrest in the rural areas an imminent danger. Therefore, in 1961, the government


5  Iranian Revolution: Four Paradigmatic Views

initiated a land reform program with two main objectives: (1) modernizing the agriculture and (2) eliminating the danger of a peasant uprising. Under the government’s land reform program, the organization of agricultural production became increasingly complex and unsatisfactory, which persisted until the time of the revolution of 1979. The land reform undermined the village system of organization, but the government did not attempt to include development in the rural area a part of its overall development strategy. Rather, the government introduced a set of conflicting organizing principles, some by design and some by default. Indeed, the government’s failure to design and implement a coherent strategy for the rural sector is the most crucial economic factor that led to the revolution of 1979. Industry, after the stabilization program of the early 1960s, was the leading sector in the rapid expansion of the non-oil economy, but it lost its dynamism starting in the second half of 1970s. This stagnation was the result of the government’s development strategy, especially during the period of high growth. More specifically, the government by selecting the types of industries and inducements for channeling investment into various areas created an environment in which it was impossible to sustain the momentum which was built up in the 1960s and was further stimulated by the oil price rise of 1973–1974. By 1977 the economy entered an irreversible deceleration toward stagnation. The Fifth Development Plan began on March 21, 1973. However, oil prices rose in the last quarter of that year, and the Shah decided to abandon the plan and ordered a revised plan that takes into account the increased oil revenue. The revised Fifth Development Plan consisted of the original Fifth Development Plan and most of the projects which had been rejected by the original Fifth Development Plan because they had been regarded as uneconomical. This shows that, for a major oil exporting country like Iran, oil exports constitute the largest and most dynamic item in the country’s export sector and that oil revenues dominate the government’s fiscal resources. The government not only doubled and at times tripled funding for many existing programs but also launched new programs in nuclear energy development, foreign aid to Middle Eastern and African countries, and equity investment in industrial countries. During the 1974–1975 fiscal year, the government entered several investment and trade agreements such as purchases of nuclear power reactors, arms from the United States and Britain, expressed intention in investment in several firms in the United States and Europe. In mid-1975, the government was foreseeing a deficit in its 1975–1976 budget. International reserves that rose 800% in less than a year stabilized at around $9 billion. The government predicted the need for the public sector and some semi-public banks to borrow short term in international capital markets. In less than 2 years after the Middle East war of October 1973, Iranian government either spent, invested, or loaned most of its oil revenue. Some government officials expressed concern regarding the unrestrained rate of economic growth, especially with a view to major problems already encountered in 1975, such as widespread shortages, double digit inflation, and port congestions.

1  Functionalist View


The way in which the Fifth Development Plan was revised, in effect, eliminated the planning process which had been gradually formed during the first four plans. Consequently, targets and funding allocations were increased in an ad hoc manner, and the current-year budget was treated as being much more important than the multi-year development budget. Planning authorities were demoted to macroeconomic model makers who had no input into the government policy decisions. In their place, budgetary authorities controlled the expenditure process through annual allocation without regard to longer-run ramifications of the higher level of expenditures. By late 1976, the revised Fifth Development Plan was no longer being followed. Concerns about future problems led to an early preparation of the Sixth Development Plan (1978–79 to 1982–83). It was also decided that planning should be performed not only by the Plan and Budget Organization but also by the users of funds, both in the public and private sectors. As a result, over 100 specialized committees started to submit expenditure proposals for the Sixth Development Plan. However, by late 1977, it became clear that the decentralized approach did not function properly. The estimate of the total revenue of the plan was around $120 billion, whereas the estimate of total demand for funds, because of the increase in expenditures, was around $500 billion. However, rather than giving the Plan and Budget Organization authority to produce the plan, the Shah decided to scrap the 5-year planning for ever. In its place, the Shah introduced 10- and 25-year guidelines in planning, where development budget is only specified for the current year. Accordingly, the planning process was no longer in place and expenditures were out of control. Therefore, there was no clear long-term economic strategy either to deal with the increased oil revenue or to deal with the problems caused by the expenditure of such increased oil revenue. However, the merits of the revised Fifth Development Plan were so much publicized by the government that the government remained committed to funding all publicized projects. Government expenditure was highly dependent on oil revenue. In 1975, public sector expenditure increased significantly with respect to oil revenue. The non-oil sectors, however, did not respond dramatically to the changes in oil exports. Private sector was not affected to a great extent. In private sector, it was investment in construction that increased most as a result of the increase in oil exports. Government’s economic programs in the post-1973 boom had limited impact due to the falling productivity of capital. The government followed a growth strategy which was based on the premise that capital was relatively abundant and used capital intensive techniques to increase the national product. However, the influx of oil revenue, which transformed the economy into a capital surplus position, was a temporary and transient phenomenon. Iran was not a true capital surplus economy as the Saudi Arabia was. The government should have based its economic strategy on long-run scarcities rather than short-run abundances. That is, the government should have aimed at maximizing the long-run return per unit of invested capital. Instead, the government based its post-1973 economic strategy on the premise of capital abundance, and, therefore, invested in capital intensive projects, which economized on labor. The government’s economic strategy was, furthermore, based on


5  Iranian Revolution: Four Paradigmatic Views

the idea that the quantity and quality of labor would improve quickly enough such that when the capital inflows from the oil sector start to dwindle, the process of capital generation would become internalized and the existing momentum of economic growth would become self-sustaining. Government’s mistaken economic strategy throws additional light on the crucial factor that led to the economic crisis that preceded the revolution. Inflation poses a grave threat to any political system. Therefore, the nature and the course of inflation in the Iranian economy deserve considerable attention. In the 1960s, the Iranian economy still continued to enjoy a prolonged period of price stability. Beginning in 1972, however, inflationary pressures started to develop and remained present throughout the 1970s. During the Fourth Development Plan (1968–1972), the inflation rate, as measured by the annual rate of increase in the average level of consumer prices, ranged from 1% to 6%. During the Fifth Development Plan, on the other hand, the corresponding rates of inflation all exceeded 10% and reached 27% in 1977. Such inflationary pressures are reflective of circumstances that, in the post-1973 period, the Iranian economy had surpassed its absorptive capacity, i.e., its ability to find the complementary factors of production (such as skilled labor force, natural resources, and infrastructure) to satisfy the rapid increases in financial capital. Government’s injections of oil revenues beyond the absorptive capacity of the economy led to higher inflationary pressures, with little or no increases in production. In addition, during 1973–1974, there was a jump in international rates of inflation, which can be responsible for no more than 25% of the Iranian domestic rates of inflation. Indeed, Iranian rates of inflation mostly reflect the government’s policy of trying to do too much in too short a time period. The inflationary pressures, which were built up in the Iranian economy in the mid-1970s, mostly emanated from the Shah’s decision to revise the Fifth Development Plan after the increases in the oil price. At that time, the decision was made to double the total investments budgeted for the entire plan period and to allocate vast amounts to social welfare and subsidy programs. Within the framework of the Fifth Development Plan, government’s expenditures from 1973 to 1974 rose by a factor of three. In 1974, of the total government budget only 28 was allocated to fixed capital formation, and 58% was allocated to current consumption. This sudden and tremendous expansion in government expenditures generated a corresponding expansion in liquidity. The result was a rapid and huge increase in effective demand. Government’s fiscal actions created an economic environment in which producers were encouraged to fully utilize their means of production. In this environment, traders attempted to quickly increase imports in order to meet the higher demand. Therefore, there was a surge in demand for the means of production, as well as for primary and intermediate goods, which put severe pressure on the maximum capacity of the existing infrastructural facilities. However, the higher demand could not be met by a higher supply because of the general shortage of skilled labor and infrastructural capacity in certain crucial areas. As a result, inflationary pressures mounted, and in addition, the feedback effect of the increases in

1  Functionalist View


oil prices, through the acceleration of inflation in the rest of the world, resulted in higher import prices. Initially, the most severe inflationary pressures were experienced in the construction and housing sector. Both the rapid increases in people’s income and the increases in the rate of migration of people from rural to urban areas played major roles in creating shortages not only in the availability of living quarters but also construction materials, which was already being experienced even before the start of the Fifth Development Plan. As a result, there were sharp increases in the price of land, construction materials, and construction workers’ wages. The acceleration of inflation in the construction and housing industry, in turn, spilled over to other sectors of the economy, which meant increasing inflationary pressures in all sectors of the economy. When infrastructural bottlenecks (such as port facilities, transportation systems, customs clearance procedures, and electrical power generating capacity) began to be encountered, the conversion period of financial capital to productive capital lengthened and, therefore, impeded the increase in supply to meet the increased demand, with increased shortages of materials and skilled labor. Many public and private projects before being completed their allocated budgets were already, actually, fully spent. In addition, a considerable amount of foreign goods which had been ordered did not arrive Iran on time. The combination of these factors resulted in the quantity of aggregate supply to be smaller than the quantity of aggregate demand throughout the Fifth Development Plan, and, therefore, the adjustment between demand and supply, i.e., excess demand, took place through increases in prices, i.e., inflation. Furthermore, government’s industrialization strategy through import substitution policy added to domestic inflationary pressures. High levels of protection, from world competitors, were extended to domestic industries, and, consequently, not only domestic prices increased, but also the domestic terms of trade sharply moved against the agricultural sector in the 1970s. This reduced the rate of profitability of investments in the agricultural sector, and, therefore, reduced the rate of growth of agricultural output, which helped the relevant rate of inflation. In addition, government’s central bank, i.e., Bank Markazi, increased pressure on commercial banks to extend credit to private industries. The government, in its fight against inflation, instead of reducing the expenditures of the public sector and reducing the extension of credit to the private sector, it followed an anti-profiteering campaign that angered the bazaar and led to the alliance of the ulama (religious leaders) and the bazaar. Income inequality increased in the 1960s and the 1970s, in both rural population and urban population. Furthermore, top income groups benefitted more than the poorer segments of the population. In the foregoing economic analysis, it was shown that the Shah’s government proved incapable of dealing with the economic problems which were created. Those who were harmed by such economic outcomes, in their response, formed a cumulative movement that helped to bring about the Iranian revolution of 1979.


5  Iranian Revolution: Four Paradigmatic Views

2  Interpretive View Politics is a reflection of certain fundamental qualities of the more general culture. Culture unifies, on the one hand, the shared beliefs and collective value of a people and, on the other hand, the form of their government. Thus, it is necessary to focus on the culture of Iran in order to gain insight with respect to its politics. Understanding the nature, role, and relationships of dominant, long-lasting cultural variables helps the understanding of the way cultural variables affect the structure, operation, and development of the political system.2 Culture is a patterned system of shared values and understandings that influence and mold the behavior of the members of a society. Culture influences action patterns as well as motivational systems of individuals living in a society. Culture shapes social action, but it does not completely determine it. The members of a society are both cultural conveyors and cultural innovators. Every cultural system is based on a logic that connects the various elements into a related and interdependent whole. Culture includes knowledge, beliefs, arts, myths, morals, laws, customs, and other capabilities and habits of the members of society. Cultural beliefs, norms, values, and behaviors are passed, whether by imitation or instruction, from one generation to the next. Culture, as a system, gives coherence, meanings, and predictability to a society. With shared ideas, behavior becomes somewhat predictable, which is a prerequisite for organized social living. The institutions of a society reflect its shared cultural ideas and norms. Culture influences sociopolitical actions, political processes, and political institutions. Political culture can be regarded as the system of empirical beliefs, expressive symbols, and values that define the situation in which political action takes place. In short, political culture provides the subjective orientation to politics. In any society, there is a plurality of political cultures. There is a difference between the political culture of power holders, or elite, and the political culture of the masses. For instance, in transitional societies, a division in political culture separates those who have a modern orientation (with stress on politics and economics) and those who have a traditional orientation (with stress on other aspects of life). The concept of political culture points to the existence of an underlying and latent coherence in political life. This means that governments change, but political cultures endure. For instance, in Russia, the tsarist political system was experienced until the Revolution of 1917. The Revolution intended to change the orientation to governmental processes. But deeply rooted political culture factors  – especially authority patterns (i.e., ruler-subject pattern)  – did not change such that the new system turned to be a somewhat transformed and attenuated form of communism.

2  For this literature see Akhavi (1980), Alam (1991), Algar (1972), Arjomand (1985, 1988), Behnam (1986), Bill (1982, 1988), Burns (1996), Cottam (1988), Fisher (1980), Foran (1993a), Katouzian (1981), Keddie (1972, 1981, 1995, 2003), Taheri (1986), Yousefi (1984), Zabih (1982), and Zonis (1983, 1991). This section is based on Behnam (1986).

2  Interpretive View


That is, what emerged was a powerful ruling class, who often were not distinguishable from the tsarist Russia. Culture provides the rules, techniques, and understandings that help the continued survival of the group. Culture also links the values and behaviors of the members of a political system and the form and action of the government in that system. Political culture involves the fundamental collective understandings which a society has with respect to power, authority, and action. Society’s significant beliefs and orientations define the behavior of its members and lead to the operation, maintenance, or dissolution of a political system. The concept of political culture is very valuable in understanding political behavior and structural change. Now, it is time to see how the particular characteristics of Iranian culture have shaped the political experience of Iran in its revolution. Two broad types of political culture can be envisioned to have dominated Iranian politics: (1) authoritarian and (2) anti-authoritarian. Historically, these two types of political culture have coexisted side by side and have often been in overt conflict with one another. Authoritarian political culture in Iran has involved submission and obedience to authority and acceptance of as well as belief in strong leadership. The authoritarian political culture can be described as subject political culture, which has a strong orientation toward a differentiated political system (which is beyond the individual’s local environment) and toward the outputs of that system, but orientations toward political participation and inputs into the political process are very weak. This is a good description of the authoritarian or subject political culture that has existed in Iran. The authoritarian nature of Iranian political culture has emanated from two sources: (1) monarchy, which had a hierarchical system and had prevailed for centuries, and (2) religion, which has had a hierarchical system and has had a dominant role in social and political life. As will be discussed below, the anti-authoritarian political culture of Iran stems from religion as well. Monarchical system of Iran was authoritarian. Monarchical rule was the norm of government in Iran until the spread of revolutionary political culture early in the twentieth century. Historically, Iran has resisted being dominated or influenced by foreign powers. For example, in the past, Monarchs were preoccupied with protecting and expanding the borders of the country. As for a second example, Iran was ruled by Moslem Arabs in the seventh and eighth centuries, but Iranians maintained their national identity by adopting an unorthodox brand of Islam and spreading Shi’ite Islam in the country. As for a third example, in 1908, when oil was discovered on the Iranian territory, Iran was caught between two great powers  – Great Britain and Russia – who were contending for economic and political supremacy in the region. This competition for Iran’s resources, as time passed by, shifted from Great Britain to the United States. In response, Iranians, through their revolution of 1979, once again, asserted themselves. Iran, due to such long history of foreign powers’ encroachment and exploitation, developed a deep-rooted xenophobia and distrust of foreign powers. Iran tenaciously resisted colonization. Iranians generally supported the rulers who faithfully safeguarded Iranian sovereignty, and in this way, Iranians further entrenched monarchical authority and authoritarian political culture.


5  Iranian Revolution: Four Paradigmatic Views

Respect for monarchical authority in Iran was based on a perceived legitimacy of monarchy which was rooted in tradition and/or charisma. The long history of the existence of the monarchical system in Iran provided it with legitimacy and ensured its continued survival. The traditional idea of monarchy together with the charismatic character of a respected leader acted as a powerful force in the maintenance of authoritarian political culture. Throughout history, Iranians have praised the exploits and courage of popular leaders who promoted the position and esteem of Iranian civilization. The subject political culture describes very well the political culture of Iran. This is because, among Iranians, there are pervasive expectations of the larger political authority, and there is almost a lack of participation and input into the political process. Iranian polity’s primary expectation is that political authority will protect the nation from foreign influence and domination. Such beliefs have had profound effects on the nature of authority in Iranian politics. Religion has made its own contribution to the authoritarian/subject political culture of Iran. Certain concepts within the Ithna Ashari Shi’ism (12 Imam Shi’ism) such as absolutism, hereditary leadership, elitism, and obedience have promoted the notion of authority. For instance, Imamate, which will be discussed farther below, has played an important role in the authority patterns which has developed in Iran. Anti-authoritarianism is another dominant factor in Iranian political culture. In Iranian history, during periods when certain moral beliefs or economic interests were threatened or violated, the polity reacted through group action. The most clear historical evidence of the existence of an indigenous anti-authoritarian political culture in Iran is the events that took place during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. These historical events are as follows: the Constitutional Revolution of 1905–1909, the oil nationalization of 1950s, and the Islamic Revolution of 1978–1979. Iranians have traditionally expressed their desire to challenge authority, especially when economic interests and national integrity are threatened. Iranians have often shown their unwillingness to accept capricious rule through nonviolent ways, such as mass demonstrations, boycotts, and strikes. Iranians have traditionally used street for their mass political demonstrations against undesirable political authorities. Whenever political demonstrations were suppressed, Iranians used mosques for their sanctuaries and for openly manifesting their political dissent. For instance, the Islamic Revolution was a nonviolent, mass political expression of Iranians against what they perceived as illegitimate authority. Iran has been a nation that has consisted of various groups, each of which has had a certain degree of power. Before Reza Shah came to power, Iran had a decentralized political structure, in the sense that tribal leaders, landlords, ulama, bazaar merchants, bureaucrats, and a few intellectuals possessed considerable autonomy and power. Reza Shah established centralized political structure and reduced the independent power of such groups. However, the growth in bureaucracy led to the rise of a new professional middle class. Although the independent power of some of these groups was substantially reduced, their influence was dormant and under the surface such that they could be mobilized whenever they were needed. This is especially true about ulama and bazaar merchants, whose efficient and widespread

2  Interpretive View


c­ ommunications with the masses created an influential political power base which was capable of challenging undesirable authority. The power of religion has been one of the major challenges to the political authority in Iran. Some of the underlying themes of Shi’ite Islam are the hope for change and the establishment of just rule. As will be discussed farther below, the theology of Ithna Ashari Shi’ism views secular government as imperfect but views the Imamate as the perfect model. The role of the ulama in Iran is to safeguard the nation and the community of faithful from the corrupt power of the secular political authority. Such ideas that underlie Shi’ite Islam have played a very important role in shaping and motivating political action in Iran. Furthermore, anti-­authoritarianism has been reflected in its ideals and its religious leadership. Within both the authoritarian and anti-authoritarian political culture of Iran, there is an important component in both of them which is charismatic authority. People tend to obey charismatic authority, from which political legitimacy derives. People tend to believe that a person with charismatic authority has superhuman qualities of a leader. The political history of Iran has quite frequently seen charismatic figures risen to political authority in order to direct the course of events during highly volatile periods. Authority has a questionable base in Iranian political culture. This is because while the polity accepts political authority, it has a mistrust of political authority. Now it is time to look at the historical and religious aspects of the Iranian political culture. The focus will primarily be on the late nineteenth century to the deposition of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi and the coming to power of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Authority and Iranian Politics  Iran’s long history spans 2500 years. In the political realm, people accepted political authority and were ruled by autocratic monarchs. The absolute power of the monarchs (shahs) not only were unrestricted by law, institutions, or tradition but also could be extended depending on their ambition, whim, or personal capacity. Since the monarch had the singular political authority, his character played a significant role in the fortunes of the state. Iran, during its long history, was ruled by various monarchs and experienced periods of expansion and invasion. Monarchical control was first contested in the second half of the nineteenth century, when the Qajar dynasty (1796–1925) was caught between two great powers, Russia and England, who were contending for economic and political preeminence in Iran. The struggle between the two great powers for hegemony in Iran invoked anti-authoritarianism and xenophobia as dominating forces in the national life of Iran and provoked major confrontations. Russia and England penetrated the political and economic life of Iran. Russia did it through its expansionist policies on the northern borders of Iran. Britain did it through its policies of defending its colonial interests in India, controlling the Persian Gulf and protecting oil concessions in southern borders of Iran. The Qajar monarchs needed to finance their extravagant life and, therefore, granted Russia and England major concessions of large parts of Iranian territory, natural and economic resources, and major components of national sovereignty.


5  Iranian Revolution: Four Paradigmatic Views

These concessions had grave consequences for the Iranian economy. Iran was defeated in two wars with Russia, in 1813 and 1828, and in two wars with England, in 1838 and 1856. Two concessions drastically affected the course of events in Iran: the tobacco concession of 1890 and the oil concession of 1901. The tobacco concession, which was granted to England, was considered an insult to the national sovereignty of Iran. People followed their prominent religious leader (Ayatollah), who issued an edict (fatwa) declaring that the use of tobacco is illegal and that people should refrain from using tobacco until the government revokes the concession. As a result, the tobacco concession was revoked in 1892. More importantly, people realized that through unity, and with the aid of their spiritual leader, they were able to influence the Shah’s decision and benefit the country. The oil concession of 1901 was granted to a British syndicate for the exploration and production of petroleum throughout the country, except for the five northern provinces which were adjacent to Russia. The Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC) was one of the outcomes of this concession. The British government, just before World War I, acquired a controlling interest in this company. Over time, the AIOC became an explosive political issue that invoked the national xenophobia feelings of Iranians. In the middle of the struggle between Russia and England for their hegemony in Iran, there developed the constitutional movement, which was the first movement against monarchical power. The movement came about as a result of a fear of foreign domination and a sense of injury. The constitutionalists aimed to limit the prerogative of the Shah, especially in economic matters, in order to gain independence from foreign control and economic deprivation. The monarch was not fulfilling the expected traditional role of being a strong leader and protecting the nation from foreign encroachment. People’s dissatisfaction was not directed at the institution of monarchy but at the incompetency of the monarch. The constitutional movement took place mostly in provincial capitals, especially Tehran. It was composed of three main groups: clerics, merchants, and intellectuals. It was not a unified national movement. It used peaceful methods of demonstration and strike. It demanded a constitution and a national assembly. Due to strikes and demonstrations, economic life of the country was disrupted, and, therefore, the Shah did not have any other options but to agree with what was demanded. For the first time in their history, Iranians overtly asserted themselves against traditional authoritarianism and the Shah’s compromising policies that gave in to foreign influence. The National Assembly (Majlis), with representatives from Tehran only, met for the first time on October 7, 1906. In 1921, however, Reza Khan and his Cossack brigade marched into Tehran and took over the government. Reza Khan, as a soldier who had risen through the ranks, used the military to restore autocratic rule in Iran. He was a militarist and an extreme nationalist. Reza Khan, who became Reza Shah in 1925, was able to take over the government and restore autocratic authority because constitutionalists, who were accustomed to authority at the top, neither developed a coherent party system nor produced a unifying figure around whom the polity could gather.

2  Interpretive View


Reza Shah took total control of the processes of government, abrogated liberties, and sought to modernize the country. Reza Shah’s main support came from the bureaucracy and the army, which he mostly created. His opposition came from the emerging middle class and tradition-oriented ulama, whom were most directly affected by Reza Shah’s secular modernization policies. Reza Shah despotically ruled Iran from 1926 to 1941. He transformed the government from a weak constitutional monarchy to a strong, central bureaucracy and brought about national unity by force. His actions were contrary to the spirit of the constitution, even though he did not formally annul the constitution. He assigned people to Majlis and turned Majlis to his instrument of obedience. He emphasized industrialization as a way of economic modernization. His secular reforms included standardization and secularization of the school curriculum, the requirement of Western-style dress, and the founding of the University of Tehran. His aim was to use modernization to completely free Iran from the interference and domination of various great powers. He, in this way, enhanced the xenophobic quality of Iranian nationalism. Reza Shah declared Iran’s neutrality at the outset of the World War II in 1939. Russia was invaded by Germans in 1941. Iran was the most effective route for Allied forces to deliver supplies to Russia. Therefore, British and Russian troops invaded and occupied Iran in 1941. Since Reza Shah’s passion had been the permanent independence of Iran, he refused to become the nominal head of an occupied country and, therefore, abdicated to his son, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, in September 1941. From 1941 to 1946, the authority of the government was very limited. This is because the power was exercised by foreign forces and a new monarch. The former was busy with their own matters, and the latter was just a figurehead in Tehran. Restrictions on freedom of movement and speech were removed. Political prisoners were freed, exiles were able to return, political groups were formed, newspapers and periodicals were published, and the thirteenth and fourteenth sessions of the Majlis met. From 1941 to 1953, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, who was known outside Iran as the Shah, was only one more contender in the competition for power. Initially, he had weak base of support due to his father’s autocratic rule of the country. His army was not credible enough to provide him with support; the ulama were doubtful about him due to his father’s secular policies; the cabinet was not chosen by him; the Majlis acted independently; and new political parties were emerging on a daily basis. Gradually, however, through compromise and concession, the Shah won over sections of the military, the old aristocracy, and the ulama. Nevertheless, the central government remained weak. In this period, public opinion became a major political element, with two organizations playing more visible role: the National Front and the Tudeh (masses) party. These two organizations, in the late 1940s and early 1950s, were not only able to block the Shah in the Majlis but also able to challenge the very existence of the monarchy in 1953. National Front was successful in uniting a heterogeneous collection of individuals and groups who were dissatisfied with the status quo. Its nucleus was formed by


5  Iranian Revolution: Four Paradigmatic Views

the Majlis’ opposition nationalist group, which was led by Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh. In National Front, the consensus was on the task of destructing the British-Iranian oligarchy alliance, which was perceived to be denying Iran independence and progress. The position of National Front supported Iranian national sentiments because of the blame which it placed on foreign interference, especially the exploitation of Iranian oil resources by the AIOC, which aroused the Iranian nationalistic feelings of distrust and anti-authoritarianism. Mossadegh enjoyed the respect, devotion, and loyalty of the vast majority of Iranians. This was because he had qualities which resonated with the Iranian social-­ cultural values. He was a nationalist, a strong leader, a land-owning aristocrat, as old as 70 years, educated to the highest level, and honest. Ayatollah Kashani was among those religious exiles who returned to Iran after Reza Shah’s abdication. He was a politically powerful and a very popular religious leader who was elected to become a member of the Majlis in 1951. He had spent all his life in fighting the British infidel, and on this basis he made an alliance with Mossadegh. Kashani and Mossadegh engineered the mass movement for the nationalization of the AIOC. The combination of religion and xenophobia attracted the support of large sections of the society which otherwise might not have been possible. Mossadegh, in 1949, led the National Front in its campaign for free elections and the nationalization of the AIOC. He challenged the Shah and, in this way, aimed at the roots of authoritarian and personalistic rule in Iran. Mossadegh, in 1951, submitted to the Majlis his proposal to nationalize Iran’s oil by expropriating the AIOC. The oil nationalization law was passed in 1951. Based on Mossadegh’s popularity, the Shah, although reluctant, had to appoint Mossadegh as the Prime Minister, a job which Mossadegh served from May 1951 to august 1953. Mossadegh’s regime was also centered on another issue of political importance: the place of the Shah in the Iranian political system, in the operation of the system, and in the army. Mossadegh’s aim was to separate the monarch and the army from politics. In 1952, Mossadegh submitted a request to the Majlis asking for fill powers for 6 months in order for him to deal more effectively with the economic problems of the country. Shah refused his consent, which was based on the recommendation of the army, which knew if the consent was given then Mossadegh would become the War Minister. Mossadegh resigned. Consequently, National Front and Tudeh party demonstrators took to the streets which often turned bloody. Under pressure, the Shah accepted Mossadegh’s requests, and, therefore, Mossadegh returned to his premiership, including, this time, the Ministry of War. In 1953, Mossadegh initiated a national referendum on the dissolution of the Majlis, based on the idea that the existing composition of the Majlis had made it ineffectual. People’s vote gave Mossadegh a strong support. In reaction, the Shah, who was confident of American support, dismissed Mossadegh as Prime Minister and appointed General Zahedi in his place and then immediately fled the country. The US Central Intelligence Agency, with the help of Iranian army, hired mobs to participate in a series of riots and arrested Mossadegh. The Shah returned to power within a week from his departure from Iran. Once again, important cultural factors

2  Interpretive View


came into play, such as distrust of power, rejection of foreign influence, and promotion of nationalism. The Shah, after Mossadegh’s fall, consolidated his power as the leader of the entire country. He employed tactics which resembled those of his father, especially in terms of applying coercive control. He not only strengthened the position and status of the army and gendarmerie but also organized an extensive secret police force (SAVAK). He made himself the center of authority and power and maintained his control through coercion and reform, through appealing to the power and material needs of the people. He allowed a change to the sociopolitical system to proceed only if it strengthened, rather than weakened, the position of the monarch. He and his court were in control of the legislative branch of the government and the security forces. He was at the center of a central bureaucracy, and the political elite was clustered around him. He acted according to established rules of a sociopolitical system which has been imbued with centuries of autocratic and authoritarian rule. Religion and Iranian Politics  The metaphysical aspects of human existence give a particular shape to the secular order of society. An understanding of the religious beliefs of the members of a society is essential in understanding their behavior with respect to the political system. This applies particularly to Iran, whose entire history has been intertwined with religious theology. In Iran, from its early history to Arab invasion of Iran in seventh century, the pervasive religion was Zoroastrian, which was then replaced by Islam, within which Iranians adopted the Shi’ite heresy. The national identity and consciousness of Iranians are closely related to their religious beliefs. Indeed, most of Iranian social movements have been intertwined with religious beliefs and, in this way, have been able to gain the support of the suppressed groups. Islam is a monotheistic religion for which Allah is the supreme deity and Mohammad is the principal prophet and founder. The organizational reality of Islam rests with a group of people called “ulama,” who are learned in the intricacies of Islam. The religious authority of the ulama is granted through the religious beliefs of laity, and religious leadership is based on the level of learning and morality of the individual clergy. Islam is founded on the concept of umma (community), which consists of believers who are equal before Allah and each other. The Islamic tradition is primarily drawn from the following three sources: the Quran, the Hadith, and the Sunna. The Quran is the God’s words revealed through Mohammad. The Hadith is oral religious communication of Mohammad. The Sunna, i.e., the tradition, is Mohammad’s practices and actions. The Shari’a, i.e., Divine Law, is primarily drawn from the Quran and the Hadith and constitutes the law by which Muslims are to live, both in private and public life. The Quran embodies a religious worldview that integrates the political, economic, and social life of the Islamic community. The God is the supreme legislator, and the ulama are its legitimate judges and interpreters. Muslims in Iran have ensured that no law would pass that would contradict the tenets of Shi’ite Islam.


5  Iranian Revolution: Four Paradigmatic Views

The state, in Islamic perspective, exists through the will of Allah; and its duty is to enforce and preserve the Shari’a. Obeying the state is necessary for obeying the Allah. The government is the handmaiden of religion. Prophet Mohammad, before his death, neither named a successor nor prescribed a method for selecting a successor. This question of succession in leadership following Mohammad’s death led to a bifurcation within the Islamic community: the Sunni sect and the Shi’ite sect. After the death of Mohammad, Sunnis followed the Arab practice of electing a successor through a tribal council, which chose Abu Bakr as the new caliph. Shi’ites (partisans or followers) believed that Ali – who was the cousin and son-in-law of Mohammad and, therefore, a close blood relative of Mohammad  – was the inheritor of the caliphate (office of vice-regent) and the religious-­political authority that was associated with that office. Eventually, Ali became the fourth caliph, but even his short-term rule was bitterly contested. After Ali’s assassination, the Umayyad caliphate firmly established their power. Shi’ite Islam is closely connected to the struggles of those believers who sought to reassert the rights of Ali. Shi’ites believe that religious leadership and authority belong to the sacred line of uncrowned caliphs, called Imams, and that Ali and his two sons, Hassan and Hossein, were the first three Imams. Ithna Ashari Shi’ites believe in 12 Imams. The Imamate began with Ali and has been passed to the next generation through the eldest male offspring until the twelfth Imam, called Mahdi (the guided one). Shi’ites believe that the twelfth Imam disappeared circa A.D. 874 and that he will return (occultation) to rectify the evils of the world. A key figure in Ithna Ashari Shi’ims is Imam Hossein (the third Imam), who is a symbol of goodness and justice. His martyrdom has been commemorated in various ceremonies, which have had political significance in Iran. In these widely held annual ceremonies, Shi’ites identify with Imam Hossein’s martyrdom and suffering as well as his selfless efforts to overcome venality and injustice. Sunnism is believed by the majority of Muslims, and Shi’ism is most prevalent in Iran. The Iranian tenacious sense of cultural independence from foreign intrusion (i.e., their Arab conquerors) led them to adhere to an unorthodox Islamic sect. In 1952, Shah Isma’il, of Safavid dynasty, established Shi’ite Islam as the official religion of Iran. The concept of Imamate in Ithna Ashari Shi’ite Islam refers to the 12 Imams, starting with Ali and continuing with his 11 successors. Shi’ite Imams have distinguished qualities of not being afraid of their suffering or martyrdom as well as characteristics of sinlessness and infallibility. Shi’ites believe that the messianic knowledge and legitimacy of Ali were transferred to the following 11 Imams without interruption. Imamate has an intimate relationship with Iranian political authority. Shi’ites believe that Imam was the head of the state and that both spiritual and secular power was vested in him. Shi’ites believe that one of the main roles of the Imam was to interpret Quranic law and to develop, apply, or enforce it as new situations arose. Shi’ites believe that the Imam was a unequivocal, infallible, and absolute source of instruction and guidance, because he ruled by God’s will and in his name and

2  Interpretive View


because all Imams inherited from Mohammad both his spiritual and secular authority. Shi’ite community was essentially headed by an autocratic ruler, because the Imam’s legitimacy and authority were derived, not from the election of the people but from the prerogative of divine right passed to him by his predecessor. Shi’ites believe that the twelfth and last Imam is present in every age but hidden from people’s sight until the day of his coming back as Mahdi to restore justice and righteousness in the world. In his absence, a collective body of mujtahids exercise the prerogative of his office. This tradition has been very significant is establishing the authority and esteem of the ulama in Iran. Iranian monarchs, traditionally, attempted to legitimize their authority by associating themselves with Imams, mujtahids, and ulama as well as religion in general. Historically, it was thought that the religious order delegated some of its secular prerogatives to the political authority, who would protect the theocratic social order and religious interests in society. At the same time, this arrangement provided the monarchs with a unique moral position and authority. According to Ithna Ashari Shi’ism, in the absence of Imam Mahdi, all governments are imperfect, but until the return of Imam Mahdi, the best form of government was a monarchical system that ruled with the consent of the ulama. If the monarch failed to defend the faith and the community, then his authority could be challenged. This happened during the constitutional era, the 1950s, and the Islamic Revolution of 1978–1979. The Islamic Revolution of 1978–1979 came about in circumstances that the following four factors generated strains on the Iranian political culture: (1) dissolution of Iranian religious and cultural values, i.e., cultural dislocation; (2) loss of national independence and resources due to the close connection of the regime with foreign powers; (3) economic dislocation and hardship; and (4) political and social repression by a centralized tyranny. It was religion that acted as a conduit for the expression of political and economic dissatisfaction of people. It was also religious leadership that filled the political vacuum. This was not unusual in Iranian political culture, because in Iran, religion has always been a source of national identity and national expression, a conduit for public protest, and a control mechanism over the state, even if the state had an enormous power. Islam acted as a powerful force for social change in Iran, because its social thought recognizes Al-Nas (the people) as the foundation and conscious factor in determining history and society. The nationalism, which was invoked during the Islamic Revolution, was largely based on a conscious understanding of cultural identity, rather than being based on a political ideology. The Islamic Revolution in Iran clearly points to the role of culture in forming the political environment of a country. The long-lasting cultural characteristics of Islam, the strong desire for independence from foreigners, the severe distrust of foreign powers, the anti-authoritarian attitude toward malignant authority, and consciousness of history together moved the Iranian people to an unprecedented alteration in the basic political structure of the country. In the Islamic Revolution, various groups of people participated: the ulama, bazaar merchants, workers, intellectuals, students, and migrants from rural areas.


5  Iranian Revolution: Four Paradigmatic Views

People participated in the Islamic Revolution, not with arms but primarily with the force of an idea. Islamic Revolution uses the traditional methods: mass demonstrations, protests, and strikes. Strikes paralyzed major industries: railways, postal services, national news agency, radio and television networks, and oil industries in Abadan and Ahwaz. All high schools and universities were closed, and students demonstrated against the Shah’s regime. The polity paralyzed the social and economic life of the country and, in this way, immobilized the political system. The Islamic Revolution was very unique in its leadership. The revolution began without a formal leadership base, as leadership came from the religious nature of the movement. Ayatollah Khomeini emerged as the symbolic leader, catalyst, and guide. He did not provide tactical military strategy but inspired and united people by the power of his words and ideas. People did not have an organized, disciplined party or program. Ayatollah Khomeini banked on his charisma and the rhetoric of Islam to implement his vision of an Islamic state, which he had formulated in the early 1970s.

3  Radical Humanist View The two Pahlavi dynasty monarchs, Reza Shah and Mohammad Reza Shah (the Shah), in many crucial respects had considerably similar ideologies, but there was one major difference. The dominant culture prevailing in the civil society and the cultural policies of Reza Shah belonged, in principle, to the same ideological categories: secularism and nationalism. Reza Shah’s critics supported his modernization policies, although, they were, overall, ambivalent about his rule. But, during Mohammad Reza Shah’s reign, the ideology of the opposition began to change. The post-1953 coup social critics and ideologues gravitated toward Islam in their attempt to address Iran’s problems. The more the Shah insisted on his secular anti-religious ideology, the less happy his critics became. Shah’s insistence on his discourse widened the gap between the state and civil society and made the domination of his regime over society more prominent.3 It should be noted that the revolutionary Islamic discourse should not be regarded as a preexisting ideology – resting either on the political theory of early Shi’ism or on ulama institutional development – ready to be used by discontented groups and classes in their confrontation with the Shah. Rather it was produced by diverse ideologues – such as Ayatollah Khomeini, Ale-Ahmad, and Ali Shari’ati – who were all concerned with the prevailing problems of political repression, the state’s policies, and the highly uneven distribution of resources. In producing the imageries of an alternative Islamic society, these ideologues needed to consider not only Islamic concepts but also the state ideology itself. Islamic revolutionary discourse was 3  For this literature see Ahmad (1979), Algar (2001), Dabashi (2006), Foran (1993b), Hoogvelt (1997), Keddie (1983), Moaddel (1993), and Zabih (1979). This section is based on Moaddel (1993).

3  Radical Humanist View


p­ roduced in opposition to the state ideology, in the sense that whatever the state ideology was it was not considered right by the Islamic revolutionary discourse. Therefore, what the Islamic revolutionary discourse said about an ideal Islamic state, to a significant extent, was a reaction to what the Shah said about the desirability of his rule. However, the Islamic movement was heterogeneous and was represented by various Islamic ideologues, who had diverse backgrounds, interests, and political agendas. Nonetheless, it appeared as a single movement because they all had one common enemy: the Shah. Ulama’s call for the overthrow of the Shah was a gradual process. In the early 1970s, only a faction among the ulama, who followed the leadership of Ayatollah Khomeini, was fighting for the establishment of an Islamic government which would be under the exclusive control of the supreme religious leader (i.e., the faqih). The growth of this ideology among the ulama stemmed from the changes which were taking place in the relationships among the state, various classes, and the ulama in the 1960s and 1970s. The state not only broke with the ulama but also antagonized the members of those classes that historically had close ties with the ulama. This situation made the unity of the ulama an objective possibility and concurrently shifted the balance of forces in favor of the radical ulama, as only these had developed a specific political agenda. Nevertheless, the transformation from objective possibility of unity to the actual establishment of an Islamic government was not an unproblematic process for the ulama, who attempted to gain unity and total power. Although the circumstances that ulama were antagonized by the policies of a hostile state and that the classes constituting their bases had turned against the state provide the necessary conditions for the unity of ulama, they do not by themselves provide the sufficient conditions for the establishment of an Islamic government. In addition, there was no intellectual precedent for the establishment of such a political institution. For instance, Shi’ism called for the ulama’s independent judgments on those matters which were not directly specified or were unclear in the religious texts; but it did not call for the establishment of an Islamic government which would be under the exclusive sway of ulama. Furthermore, it was necessary for the ulama and their followers to be convinced that their claim to total power was not only consistent with the political teachings of Shi’ism, but also that it was practical. Only then it could be expected for the ulama to have acted harmoniously for the achievement of an ideologically justified common goal. Indeed, it was in this context that Ayatollah Khomeini’s political theory for the establishment of an Islamic government was produced and gained increasing popularity. Khomeini articulated his ideas for the establishment of an Islamic government as velayat-i faqih (governance by the jurisprudent) and related it to the anti-state and anti-foreign orientations of the bazaar. Khomeini presented the problem by blaming the “imperialists” and their “agents” for the imposition of the “unjust economic order” on the Muslim people. According to Khomeini, imperialists have placed their political agents in power over the people, have imposed an unjust economic order on people, and thereby have divided our people into two groups: oppressors and oppressed. On the one hand, hundreds of millions of Muslims are deprived of food,


5  Iranian Revolution: Four Paradigmatic Views

health care, and education. On the other hand, a small minority, which is comprised of all the wealthy and powerful, lives a life of indulgence, licentiousness, and corruption. The hungry and deprived have always struggled to free themselves from the oppression of their plundering overlords, and their struggle continues even today. However, their way is blocked not only by the ruling minorities but also by their oppressive governmental structures. According to Khomeini, today, we cannot stay silent and idle when a band of traitors and usurpers – who act as the agents of foreign powers, enjoy the support of their masters, and use the power of their bayonet – have appropriated the wealth and the fruits of labor of hundreds of millions of Muslims, without granting the Muslims the least right to prosperity. For the sake of the well-being of hundreds of millions of human beings, it is the duty of Islamic scholars and all Muslims to put an end to this system of oppression by overthrowing the oppressive governments and replacing them with an Islamic government. Khomeini’s central political objective was to identify Islam with the ulama by attempting (1) to show the consistency of his views with Shi’ite’s political theory and (2) to define a Muslim only as someone who believed in the authority of the ulama. Khomeini argued that Islam, in the Quran and tradition (Sunnat), gives all the laws and principles which a man needs for his happiness and perfection. But, their execution and implementation require the formation of a government. The ulama’s governance is the institution that ensures the rigorous application of Shari’a to Muslim society. Therefore, the jurisprudent (i.e., faqih) has the same authority that Prophet Mohammad and the Imams had, except that his authority does not extend to other jurisprudents. Khomeini, in many of his writings, attempted to champion the cause of the ulama by equating ulama power with both Islam and the integrity of Iran. Khomeini attacked the secular Shi’ite movement based on his conviction that one cannot be a Muslim if that one does not recognize ulama power. Although Khomeini attempted to show the consistency between his views and Shi’ite political theory, many of his ideas were his own invention, and their growing acceptance was due to the specific socioeconomic and political context of the 1960s and 1970s. Khomeini’s thoughts formalized and institutionalized the functions of the ulama to a degree that renders them things which are different from the functions undertaken traditionally by jurisprudents. If the ulama’s ideological attack on the Shah was the only Islamic oppositional activity which was performed in the post-1953 coup period, then there would be no real need to treat Islam as an autonomous discourse. The idea of Islamic government could be regarded as ulama’s organizational ideology which is produced in response to state challenges to their authority, and the growth in the popularity of the idea of Islamic government can be attributed to the hostilities of the bazaaris (merchants) and landowners to the Shah’s economic policies. Such was not the case, however, for many leading secular intellectuals, in the same period, who used Islamic discourse in addressing Iran’s socioeconomic and political problems. Indeed, Islamic political discourse was a constitutive feature of the post-1953 coup oppositional activities.

3  Radical Humanist View


Two lay intellectuals played prominent roles in spreading the ideology of revolutionary Islam among the educated people. The first intellectual was Jalal Ale-­ Ahmad, who was an ex-communist; and the second intellectual was Ali Shari’ati, who in his youth was a member of the Movement of God-Worshipping Socialists. Ale-Ahmad’s family was clerical. His father, Shaykh Ahmad, was a clergyman; and his paternal uncle was Ayatollah Taleqani. Ale-Ahmad completely broke with religion and joined the Tudeh party (Iran’s Communist party), and his books written at that time, particularly Did-du Bazdid and Seh Tar, had an explicitly anti-religious orientation. In 1947, Ale-Ahmad, together with his friend and mentor Khalil Maleki, left the Tudeh party. He returned to political activity during the oil nationalization period of Dr. Mossadegh. Ale-Ahmad and Maleki allied with Muzaffar Baqai’s Toilers’ party (Hizb-i Zahmat-Kasban). When Baqai withdrew his support of Mossadeg’s oil nationalization, both Ale-Ahmad and Maleki split from the Toilers’ party and established the Third Force (Niru-ye Sivvum). Three months before the 1953 coup, Ale-Ahmad withdrew from the Third Force and never joined any organized political movement. Ale-Ahmad attempted to reexamine the causes of the defeat of Mossadeg’s nationalist and democratic movement; to understand the root causes of Iran’s underdevelopment and its domination by imperialism; and to rethink Iranian intellectuals’ ideological resolutions. Ale-Ahmad, in his relatively short lifetime, wrote about 45 books, articles, and translations. His three major books are directly related to the above-mentioned issues and reflect the core of his sociopolitical thoughts: Seh Maqaleh-ye Digar (Three More Essays), Gharbzadegi (Plagued by the West, or Westoxication), and Dar Khedmat va Khianat-i Roushanfikran (Concerning the Service and Betrayal of the Intellectuals). Ale-Ahmad regarded these three books as parts of a self-study of Iranian history and culture. Gharbzadegi represents a transition in Ale-Ahmad’s intellectual life, as it marks the beginning of his transition from Marxism to an appreciation of the significance of Islam in the Middle East. According to Ale-Ahmad, economics, politics, and the global confrontation between poverty and wealth has forced us to be polite and servile consumers of the products of Western industry or at best be satisfied, subservient, and low-paid repairmen for whatever comes from the West. This has required us to reshape ourselves, our government, our culture, and our everyday lives into some semblance of a machine. Ale-Ahmad sees the root of the problem to be in the contradiction that exists between Islam and the Western culture. He views the past 12 centuries of struggle and competition which have been going on between the East and the West as nothing but a struggle between Islam and Christianity. According to Ale-Ahmad, the West has been acting against the totality of Islam on the global scale and has been trying to divide the apparent unity of Muslims. It has been our duty to act within an Islamic totality and to stand in the way of the advance of European civilization (read colonialism, Christianity), i.e., in the way of the drive to market Western industry. According to Ale-Ahmad, the solution is the emancipation of Iranian history and culture from Western cultural domination. For this emancipation, it is necessary to make a relentless attack on the secular intellectuals who have been the bearers of


5  Iranian Revolution: Four Paradigmatic Views

Western culture in Iran. In the conflict between the West and Islam, it is necessary to defend Islam as it is the only way to the liberation and development of Iran. This means that those who translated the French constitution to obtain the constitution of Iran and those who sacrificed Iran’s national interests for the Communist International are responsible for the decline of Iran’s historical and cultural identity. Ale-Ahmad, in his book entitled, “Dar Khedmat va Khianat-i Roushanfikran” (Concerning the Service and Betrayal of the Intellectuals), articulated a more detailed and sophisticated critique of the intellectuals. He started the book with the statement that the idea of writing the book was provoked by the intelligentsia’s indifference with respect to the Khomeini-led bloody demonstration of 1963 against the Shah. According to Ale-Ahmad, Iranian intellectuals have five characteristics: (1) they have a Western lifestyle; (2) they are either irreligious or anti-religious; (3) they are educated; (4) they are alienated from their local and traditional environment; and (5) they have a scientific worldview. Furthermore, the anti-religious characteristic of the Iranian intellectuals is simply an imitation of their European counterparts and is not related to Iranian culture or history. In Europe, critiques of religion were rooted in the Enlightenment, which came about as a result of (1) industrial revolution and the development of science and technology; (2) reactions to the close association between church and state; and (3) lack of a comprehensive system of laws on commerce and politics in Christianity. In Iran, in contrast, on the one hand, there has been no Enlightenment movement, no industrial revolution, and no significant connection between the state and religion; and on the other hand, Islam has been offering guidelines on virtually all aspects of social life, including laws on commerce and politics. Ale-Ahmad further argues that while the European intelligentsia have had vast intellectual resources – that is, a tradition of discovery and inventions in laws, science, and philosophy – the Iranian intelligentsia have had none of these. Therefore, Iranian intellectuals are not authentic but imitators or their European counterparts. Ale-Ahmad concludes his critique by offering the Iranian intellectuals the choice between the following two alternatives: (1) putting an end to the westoxication, replacing it with utmost effort to understand the native environment and problems, and solving these problems by means of the latest scientific methods or (2) continuing the westoxication to the extreme, that is, totally reorganizing the Iranian society according to the moral, political, and social standards of the West, which will result in a complete spiritual, national, and cultural annihilation of Iran. In other words, the two choices for Iranian intellectuals are either ceaselessly resisting colonialism or completely submitting to it. Submission to the Western cultural domination is easy and enjoyable, but resistance involves hardships and sacrifices. Ale-Ahmad was followed by Ali Shari’ati, who was a leading Shi’ite ideologue. Shari’ati was also born into a clerical family. For instance, Shari’ati’s father, Muhammad Taqi Shari’ati, was one of the Iranian ulama. In his youth, Shari’ati was a member of the Movement of God-Worshipping Socialists, and later was a member of the Center for the Propagation of Islamic Truth. Shari’ati received a B.A. in Arabic and French from the University of Mashhad; he was then awarded a state scholarship to study in France. In 1959, Shari’ati started his graduate studies in

3  Radical Humanist View


sociology at the Sorbonne in Paris, where he joined the Freedom Movement and the Confederation of Iranian Students. Shari’ati, in many respects, continued the work of Ale-Ahmad and questioned the Iranian intellectuals’ critique of religion. He believed that Europeans abandoned religion and made progress, but Iranians abandoned religion and went backward. According to Shari’ati, the struggle of educated people in Iran against religion is different from the opposition of the educated people in Europe to religion. This is because, the opposition of the intellectuals in Europe to religion was based on their own experiences and knowledge of religion, i.e., the Middle Ages and the Church. The opposition of intellectuals in Iran to religion is rather based on a blind imitation of their European counterparts. Shari’ati believed that religion is the most effective weapon for fighting against imperialism and Western cultural domination. On the question of religion and revolution, Shari’ati challenged Franz Fanon, whom he knew personally and whose books he translated into Persian. According to Shari’ati, Fanon was pessimistic about the positive contribution that religion can make to social movement. Furthermore, Fanon had an anti-religious attitude until Shari’ati convinced him that in some societies where religion plays an important cultural role, the enlightened person can be helped by religion’s resources and psychological effects to lead his society toward the same destination which Fanon was taking his own society through non-religious means. Shari’ati, while drawing on concepts and categories from liberalism, Marxism, and existentialism claimed that Islam transcends all these ideologies. Shari’ati’s criticism of Marxism coincided with the Shah’s anti-Communism policy. The Shah’s regime, between February and March 1976, gradually published his works on this topic in a series of articles entitled “Man, Marxism, and Islam,” in the daily newspaper Kayhan. These articles promoted the Islamic revolutionary discourse. In general, Shari’ati’s teachings of revolutionary Islam contributed to the emergence of Islamic revolutionary groups. An important organizational outcome of his discourse was a new form of religious gathering which were held in Hoseinieh-e Ershad. In this forum, Shari’ati gave lectures on various aspects of Islam, and these were very popular among the educated people. Consequently, Hoseinieh-e Ershad acted as an organizational context for the growth and propagation of revolutionary Islamic organizations. As the Islamic revolutionary discourse grew, it increasingly shaped the political actions of secular groups who were in the opposition. Different left-leaning groups began to emphasize the contribution of religion in the struggle against the Shah and attempted to form alliances with the Islamic opposition. The Left, which was too desperate to overthrow the Shah, downplayed its ideological differences with the Islamic intellectuals and approached Islamic groups as possible allies. This tendency within the Left became quite strong after the Khomeini-led bloody demonstration of 1963 against the Shah. For instance, Mostafa Shoa’ie’yan, who was a leftist activist, recommended the use of religious tactics for the revolutionary mobilization of the masses. He reasoned that the ulama have extensive propaganda facilities. He argued that since the leading ulama – such as Ayatollahs Khomeini, Millani,


5  Iranian Revolution: Four Paradigmatic Views

and Taleqani – were actively involved in the opposition movement, the use of religious tactics would become more effective. He then recommended that the ulama, by issuing fatvas, should boycott everything which was related to the government. That is, ulama should adopt a religious tactic which would be similar to the boycott of tobacco made by ulama in the late nineteenth century. Similarly, the leaders of the Tudeh party (the Iranian Communist Party), who had not been able to forge an alliance with the National Front for over a decade, changed their tactics and approached the religious opposition. The Tudeh party, for many years, boasted that one of its Central Committee members, in 1963, recorded Khomeini’s speech against the Shah and subsequently broadcasted it through the party’s radio station. In sum, revolutionary Islamic discourse was produced and formed in the process of ideological back-and-forth arguments between the state and the opposition within the volatile conditions of the post-1953 coup period. It should be noted that when secular-nationalist discourse was the dominant ideology in civil society, Iran’s underdevelopment was seen as the result of clerical influence, tribalism, communal sectarianism, and the undemocratic nature of the monarchy. The solution was thought to be in the separation of religion from politics, the democratization of institutions, and national integration. Secular ideology also affected religion through the attempt of a group of ulama, during the Constitutional Revolution, in reconciling Islam with the idea of constitutionalism and democracy, and then, in the late 1940s, in depoliticizing Islam altogether. With the changes in the socioeconomic and political climate of the post-1953 coup period, revolutionary Islam gained dominance in the opposition discourse, and a different set of themes gained significance: (1) that underdevelopment and economic inequality are the result of Western cultural domination; (2) that religion and politics are inseparable and that Islam is a revolutionary and anti-imperialist ideology; (3) that the nature of the institution of monarchy is anti-Islamic; and (4) that the political systems of both the West and East are to be rejected. In the 1960s and 1970s, the Shah was not worried about the possibility of a serious revolutionary challenge to his rule. He thought that his monarchy was stable. He thought that the Left and the National Front had been effectively uprooted and that after the suppression of the Khomeini-led rebellion in1963, the religious opposition was no longer able to organize a similar mass demonstration. He thought that during contemporary periods of rapid economic growth and industrialization, there would be no noticeable economic problems. He, therefore, thought that the monarchy-­ centered nationalist ideology had sufficient efficacy. However, when the economy began to experience difficulty, the association of the monarchy with progress, economic development, and prosperity became increasingly questionable. The ideology of monarchy became increasingly vulnerable. Furthermore, the government’s policies to resolve the economic problems – such as anti-profiteering campaign, and social spending cut – backfired and increased the prevailing social discontent. The human rights doctrine of the Carter administration and the increasing international pressure on the Shah to ease political controlled the leadership of the opposition to believe that it was time for open political activities.

3  Radical Humanist View


Some of the government’s policies, which were pursued in 1977, further contributed to the outbreak of protest activities. To curb inflation, Prime Minister Jamshid Amouzegar imposes price controls. It was in 1975 that the government’s anti-­ profiteering and price control campaign started and the government’s subsequent arrest and fining of over 20,000 merchants and retailers resulted, which provided a context for the bazaar’s unity against the government. Amouzegar’s more recent action increased the feelings of hostility among the bazaaris (merchants). Another government policy was the elimination of payments to the clergy in order to balance the budget. This policy led to dissatisfaction among the clergy. The government had started to cut social spending a year earlier. The Shah, in October 1976, in a highly publicized press conference, attacked workers for their high wages and low productivity and demanded that they should work harder and lower their expectations. Subsequently, Minister of Labor, Manouchehr Azmoun, introduced profit-sharing schemes in order to entice workers to increase the level of their productivity. Finally, to appease the critics of the regime, Amouzegar released several hundred political prisoners. These actions of the government led to the intensification of anti-government activities by diverse classes and groups in the latter half of 1977. The bazaaris revived the Society of Merchants and Guilds, which had been outlawed since the Shah’s coup of 1953, but bazaaris gave it a new name, i.e., the Society of Merchants and Guilds of Tehran Bazaar. The activist followers of Khomeini in the bazaar – such as Khamoushi, Asghar-Owaldi, Pour-Ostad, and Rafiq-Doust – also increased their organizing efforts. Starting in early as 1975, industrial workers began to strike more frequently compared to previous years. Their dissatisfaction aroused in response to increases in inflation and the scarcity of basic necessities. The government’s cut in social spending further aggravated labor unrest, and by mid-1978 workers began demanding the overthrow of the monarchy. Indeed, the simultaneity of the struggle of the bazaaris and workers against the government was the crucial factor for the success of the revolutionary movement of 1977–1979. Nevertheless, the way that the grievances of the bazaaris and workers were translated into a revolutionary movement cannot be related only to either their economic interests or the level of their solidarity structure. The most important political events of the mid-1970s were the protests of the intelligentsia, lawyers and judges, writers, and former leaders of the National Front. They sent several highly critical letters to the Shah and high-ranking government officials. The Iranian Writers Guild in Tehran organized a series of nighttime poetry readings, which was attended by several thousand people. These political activities gained remarkable national and international publicity. The poetry readings stimulated political demonstrations and rallies in Tehran during which several people were either wounded or killed. In the 1977 protest activities, secular groups were quite active and visible. Nevertheless, the revolutionary crisis did not follow from the logic of these events. This is because the demands of the dominated classes and the intelligentsia were not totally incompatible with the institution of monarchy. It cannot be said that the revolution succeeded because of the government’s failure to act against it. This


5  Iranian Revolution: Four Paradigmatic Views

is because statistics show that an estimated 10,000 to 12,000 persons were killed and 45,000 to 50,000 persons were injured, during the 14-month revolutionary upheaval. Even if one assumes that the government had lost its will to repress people, it cannot be assumed that participants in the revolution were aware of it or would have believed it. Rather, it was Islamic discourse that transformed the social discontents into revolutionary movements and threw the Shah’s regime into crisis. The revolutionary crisis took effect when the Islamic revolutionary ideology began to take over the protest movements. This happened because the themes of the ideology of the monarchy and the themes of the ideology of the Islamic opposition were to a large extent incongruent. Thus, when people became dissatisfied with the Shah, and gradually gravitated toward the opposition, their dissatisfaction was transcended and expressed in terms of Islamic discourse. Since revolutionary Islam was negating the monarchy’s ideology, the actions of the discontented people took shape in a revolutionary direction. The Islamic revolutionary discourse viewed the problem in terms of the conflict between Islam and the infidels and, in this way, transcended class differences and social divisions within a communitarian framework. That is, the Muslim community (ummat) was viewed as fighting the boundless tyrant (taghut). There were several specific ways through which the discursive field of revolutionary Islam was expanded and the ideological mobilization of people took place. The first was the transformation of the clerical politics into the Islamic revolutionary discourse. This was important because the ulama always could choose among alternative courses of action in pursuing their occupational and religious goals. Khomeini invented the idea of the revolutionary overthrow of the state and the establishment of an Islamic government. Prior to Khomeini, there had been no ideological precedent that justified the ulama’s direct rule in society. Indeed, many grand Ayatollahs were in disagreement with Khomeini’s political views. In particular, Ayatollah Abol-Qasem Kho’i believed that direct ulama’s governance was unnecessary. Therefore, Khomeini’s first revolutionary task was to convince his colleagues of the necessity of establishing ulama’s rule. In the initial stage of the revolution, the top priority for Khomeini and his followers was the ulama’s radicalization, which Khomeini’s followers attempted to accomplish by pressuring the ulama to take an active part in the revolution. Second, was the discursive field which was generated by revolutionary Islam. It consisted of symbolic structure, rituals and calendar, and theme of martyrdom. It played a crucial role in providing an effective channel of communication between the leaders and the people. It provided occasions for people to gather and mobilize against the Shah and as a result perpetuated the revolutionary crisis. The revolutionary crisis proper began in January 1978, in Qum, where several thousand Khomeini supporters began to protest against the publication of an article in Ittila’at newspaper, in which Khomeini was portrayed as an Indian Sayyid (Sayyid-i Hindi), who was acting like an agent for the red and the black colonialists (read the communists and the British). This event did not gain significance because Khomeini was insulted or that the religious protest in Qum was brutally repressed. This is because, in the

3  Radical Humanist View


past, the regime had frequently attacked Khomeini, and there had been many violent protest demonstrations in Qum which had been repressed. None of these, however, had been followed by a mass demonstration for the support of Khomeini and for the solidarity among the various discontented groups and classes. The protest demonstrations in January 1978, in Qum, gained significance, however, in the context of the secular groups’ experiences in the previous year’s protest activities. The open letters to the Shah and high-ranking governmental officials, the nights of poetry readings, and their ensued rallies were indicative of the dawn of a new era for political action. Because of international pressures on the regime, the prevalence of economic difficulties, and the spread of corruption in high places, the Shah was in the defensive mood. But at the same time, there were serious limits to the actions of protestors, as they were treated very harshly by SAVAK (the Shah’s secret police). The impotence of the protest movements vis-à-vis the regime’s might was quite clear. However, the newspaper article against Khomeini, and the violent repression of his supporters, constituted an occasion around which the opposition mobilized its forces against the Shah. The outrage at the regime’s violent behavior was expressed by many entities: the leading ulama in Tehran and other major cities; the Society of Merchants and Guild of Tehran Bazaar; the Isfahani and Tabrizi bazaaris; the National Front; the Toilers’ party; and the Left. In the same way that the monarchy’s ideology shaped the ideology of the opposition, the state’s repressive policy partly made Khomeini the leader of the revolution. The January 1978 demonstration, in Qum, strengthened the connection between the secular and religious groups within the opposition and helped Khomeini and his followers to establish their hegemony over the opposition. The secular groups, including the Left, made compromises with the religious groups. For instance, many secular groups accepted the idea that women, while participating in street demonstrations, should wear the veil as a symbol of resistance to the Shah’s Westernization policies. This tactic, indeed, epitomized the complete penetration of Islamic revolutionary ideology to the ideology of revolution. The enhanced power of the Shi’ite revolutionary discourse stemmed from the fact that it motivated people to action precisely because Shi’ite ideology meant different things to different contenders. The January 1978 Qum incident led to a series of ideologically constituted events that meant the continuation and intensification of the revolutionary crisis. These events were the outcome of the Islamic ritual for those who have died. One of these Islamic rituals is the memorial services and commemorations of the deceased which takes place on the fortieth day after the death of the person. The performance of this ritual for those killed in anti-Shah demonstrations in January 1978 resulted in government’s killings of some of the participants in the ritual, which in turn provided another occasion for performing the memorial services for them 40 days later and so on. The sequence started on January 9, 1978, in Qum, when tens of people were killed. The next major anti-Shah demonstration occurred in several cities on February 18, i.e., 40 days after January 9, as a result of which some people were killed (particularly in Tabriz). Forty days later, on March 29, during the commemoration for those who were killed on February 18, scattered riots erupted in several


5  Iranian Revolution: Four Paradigmatic Views

major urban centers, again leading to a number of deaths (particularly in Yazd). The next fortieth was May 8–9, during which there were disturbances in 34 towns. As a result of this built-in ritual, there was no need for revolutionary leaders to tell the public when and in what form they should demonstrate against the Shah. The cycles of these religious rituals continued until 1979. Third, was the Islamic calendar, which provided not only a means to contradict the ideology of the monarchy but also periodic occasions for the people to mobilize against the Shah. The opposition observed the rituals and ceremonies associated with Islamic religious holidays and disregarded the state-specified civil holidays, and, in this way, the opposition undermined the ideology of the monarchy. Furthermore, the major mass demonstrations against the Shah often occurred in the holy months (Muharram and Ramadan) and were initiated in the mosques. As a result of these protest demonstrations, in August 1978, the Shah replaced Amouzegar with Jafar Sharif-Emami to form a government of “national reconciliation.” Sharif-Emami had a clerical background, and in order to appease the opposition, he relaxed the state’s control of the press; raised the salaries of the government’s employees; abolished the monarchical calendar and replace it with the Islamic calendar; and released several hundred political prisoners. These concessions overall met many of the demands of the secular groups during the protest activities of 1977. Even the influential leaders of the opposition such as Bazargan and Ayatollah Shari’atmadari were willing to take Sharif-Emami seriously. But why did the opposition in mid-1978 demand the overthrow of the monarchy? Of course, there were a number of small radical groups, such as the Feda’iyan Khalq and the Mojahedin-i Khalq, who had demanded, much earlier, the overthrow of the monarchy and the redistribution of wealth. Of course, Khomeini and his followers had believed in the 1970s that the monarchy ought to be overthrown and an Islamic government established. But, at that time, the members of radical groups had been either killed or imprisoned, and that, in 1977, Khomeini and his followers had not yet established their hegemony over the protest movements. Rather, the reason the opposition aimed at the overthrow of the Shah was that in mid-1978, the Shi’ite revolutionary discourse had taken over the movement and the social discontent of the people had been transformed into a real revolutionary crisis. Political changes were now occurring based on the direct actions of the masses, which were shaped by the internal logic of Shi’ite’s revolutionary discourse. The government resorted to outright repression. In a massive demonstration in Jaleh Square, the troops fired at the demonstrators, killing several hundred. The government also detained the opposition leaders and pressured Iraq to expel Khomeini. This additional repression was ineffective. In Shi’ite tradition, Muharram is a month in which people mourn the martyrdom of Imam Hossein, the third Shi’ite’s Imam. In their mobilization, the religious opposition invoked the theme of martyrdom and vowed to make Muharram “the month of victory of blood over sword.” On the ninth and tenth of Muharram (December 10 and 11, 1978), in Tehran and other major cities, several million people participated in demonstrations. Resolutions which were passed in these demonstrations all designated Ayatollah Khomeini as

4  Radical Structuralist View


the leader of the nation and demanded the overthrow of the system of monarchy as well as the establishment of an Islamic government. The resolution of the ideological conflict between the state and the religious opposition constituted the first stage of the Iranian Revolution. The Islamic discourse constituted the framework for the resolution of political and social conflicts in the post-revolutionary period. On December 29, 1978, the Shah replaced Azhari with Shapour Bakhtiar, a member of the National Front. On January 16, 1979, the Shah left Iran. Ayatollah Khomeini and his followers negotiated with the government for the transfer of power, and Bakhtiar stepped down on February 11, 1979.

4  Radical Structuralist View Our epoch has been characterized by capital accumulation and expansion on the world scale and continually experiences recurring crises in forms of recessions, depressions, and fluctuations. In this context, an adequate analysis of social change in the Third World countries should not focus on stagnation and underdevelopment; rather, it should focus on the conditions under which the process of capital accumulation takes place and its impact on class structure. The examination of class relations in peripheral countries should be taken as the point of departure for addressing the problems of capital accumulation and expansion.4 Capital accumulation is affected by the following factors: (1) the nature of the state and the state policy and (2) class relations (the process of surplus extraction, the intensity of exploitation, the level of class struggle, and the concentration of the workforce). Capital accumulation affects class structure in the following ways: (1) class formation/conversion (e.g., the shift from small proprietor to proletarian or from kulak and rural proletarian to urban sub-proletarian, from landlord to merchant, from merchant to industrialist, or from national industrialist to branch plant manager of a multinational corporation); (2) income distribution (concentration, redistribution, re-concentration of income); and (3) changes in social relations, including labor market (“free” market wage and trade union bargaining), semicoercive (market and political/social controls), and coercive (slave and debt peonage) types. The growth in production occurs in cyclical patterns, partly due to external decisions (“demand”) and partly due to internal conditions (e.g., externally linked classes, an alienated state, or repressed social movements). Capital accumulation in the Third World results in uneven development, that is, (1) integration of specific product areas with the external world; (2) sharp income inequalities due to external class linkages; (3) control over state revenues; and (4) coercive controls over the working class and the peasantry. While dependency studies focus on the growth of  For this literature see Abrahamian (1979, 1980), Azad (1980), Clawson (1977), Halliday (1979), Jazani (1980), Keddie (1979), and Petras and Morley (1981). This section is based on Petras and Morley (1981).



5  Iranian Revolution: Four Paradigmatic Views

productive forces and the way external connections impede growth, the focus when placed on conditions of capital accumulation and their impact on class relations allow the examination of the nature of the state in a more concrete manner. The state is ultimately involved in capital accumulation and class formation, as well as in internal class relations as they emerge from and get involved in capitalist development. A post-independence national regime, in the context of capital accumulation, can choose from among at least three strategies or types of class alliances. (1) It can join the imperial firms and regimes in intensifying surplus extraction from the labor force through various types of post-independence working relationships. (2) It can extract surplus directly from the labor force and limit or eliminate the share that used to go to the imperial firms and, therefore, channel it to the state and/or private national entrepreneurs. This approach, which can be referred to as “national developmentalism without redistribution,” leads to the concentration of income in the top class in the national hierarchy. (3) It can ally itself with the laboring population, extend the areas of national control (through nationalization), and either reinvest the surplus in the national economy or redistribute income within the national class structure. The choices which the national regime makes with respect to the type of class alliance as well as the strategy for capital accumulation, directly affect the distribution of income. Alternative (1) mentioned above, which can be called the “neocolonial” model, according to which accumulation occurs from above and outside, results in a pattern of income distribution that resembles an inverted pyramid, which shows that wealth and power are concentrated in the hands of foreigners. Alternative (2) mentioned above, which can be called the “national bourgeois” developmental approach, concentrates income along the intermediary strata, i.e., the governing elite of the peripheral countries, and leads to an income distribution that looks like a diamond. Alternative (3) mentioned above, which can be called the “national-­ popular” strategy, according to which an alliance is formed between the national intermediaries and the labor force, leads to a broader based society in which the income distribution tends to be in the shape of a pyramid. The foregoing classification indicates that a nation’s struggle against imperial domination is mediated by that nation’s class structure, i.e., it contains contradictions, and it involves exploitation. Different development strategies result in different patterns of exploitative relations. In the neocolonial model, the national bourgeoisie serves to heighten imperial exploitation and as a consequence extracts a share of the surplus for itself. Iran before the revolution of 1979 and many other countries, such as Brazil, Chile, Indonesia, Taiwan, South Korea, and South Vietnam, fall in this type of regime. National policy is typically characterized by coercion, a demobilized population, open access to raw materials, and tax and other incentives to foreign investors. The specific forms of joint exploitation, which takes place between national and imperial bourgeoisie, vary greatly, depending upon the relative bargaining power of the national and imperial bourgeoisie. When there is total foreign control of the economy, the national bourgeoisie obtains tax revenue. When there is partnership

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between the two, but majority ownership and management prerogatives are in foreign hands, the national bourgeoisie obtains a minority share of earnings plus tax revenues. Whatever specific form the joint exploitation takes, the imperial bourgeoisie is clearly dominant in both internal and external relations. Under colonialism, class formation and capital accumulation were based on simple external surplus extraction. With independence, the situation became more complex, as an internal ruling class, which had its own state apparatus, mediated the process of exploitation and accumulation. The independence experience of peripheral countries has varied: the least durable and least expansive regimes have been the ones that were the most popular and most nationalistic; the least popular have been the ones that were the most expansive and least nationalistic; and the regimes that have been nationalistic but not popular have eventually pursued one of the other two approaches. Historical experience of peripheral capitalist countries suggests that the most effective instrument of capital accumulation and growth is the least nationalistic and most exploitative model, i.e., the neocolonial, “from above and outside,” approach. The history also shows that the regimes that have followed this policy have been unpopular, externally oriented regimes who have rested largely on alliances with military elites and propertied classes, whose incapacity to accumulate capital has led them to rely on foreign capital. Iran, before the revolution of 1979, was one of the major sub-imperialist powers and was growing at a fast rate but was experiencing major political crises that eventually led to fundamental societal and economic changes. As a result, there were shifts in power, regime, and social system. Moreover, changes within Iran, which has been described as one of the “regionally influential nations,” have had a profound effect throughout the area in which it has been located and in the major imperial centers of world capitalist system. Revolution in Iran, as a sub-imperialist country, led to drastic shifts in the political economies within its regions. Iran before the revolution of 1979, exercised economic, military, and political power in neighboring areas which served to limit the scope and possibilities for political and economic changes within smaller and weaker states in the region. Iran, under the Shah, participated either directly (e.g., with troops) or indirectly (with military bases, weapons, equipment, and training), in support of right-wing and reactionary regimes in various countries such as North Yemen, Oman, Pakistan, Iraq, South Vietnam, Morocco, Jordan, Zaire, and Somalia. Within the Middle East region, Iran also supplied oil to Israel and provided diplomatic support for initiatives conducted by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and other conservative regimes. Moreover, the concentration of capital and the development of the productive forces within Iran played important roles in developing the productive forces in the rest of the countries within its region. Revolution in Iran, as a sub-imperialist country, tremendously accelerated revolutionary developments within the region. If no revolution had taken place in Iran, isolated revolutionary changes in the more underdeveloped countries would have encountered severe obstacles, as well as pressures and internal distortions from their participation in world markets. The popular upheaval in Iran that culminated in the


5  Iranian Revolution: Four Paradigmatic Views

overthrow of the Pahlavi dictatorship was significant. This is because it affected a country whose strategic position in the world capitalist system and the Middle East has multiple effects on other countries, i.e., the domino theory. Revolutionary changes in large semi-industrialized countries, such as Iran, can encourage and support existing and new revolutionary initiatives. The impact of the Iranian revolution on the immediate continents and regions is important and direct; but perhaps even more important, from a long-term perspective, is entire impact on the capitalist world economy as a whole and especially on the imperial centers of the East and West. During the Shah’s reign, Iran was a massive market for military armaments, consumer goods, and machinery, as well as military and civilian technicians from the United States, Europe, and Japan. For instance, in 1972, Iran was exempted from arms sales review processes in the state, and between l972 and 1976, Iran purchased $10.4 billion worth of military supplies from the pentagon and made itself the largest single customer of the US armament. In contrast, as a consequence of the 1979 revolution, within 6 months of the Shah’s overthrow, some $7.7 billion out of an estimated $12.6 billion worth of pending military equipment contracts was cancelled by the Islamic regime. Similarly, in the consumer goods category, the United States sold approximately $6 billion worth of goods to Tehran in 1978. After the revolution, multinational corporations suffered a combined loss of about $80 billion. In light of such substantial linkages, it is clear that a revolutionary change within an important country, such as Iran, can have a significant effect on the economies and societies of the advanced capitalist countries. There is a contradiction in the economic growth policy of dictatorial regimes. In many areas of the Third World, there are highly repressive regimes. These regimes have come to existence in responses to demands that originate primarily at the global level. The organization and functioning of these regimes and their relationship to economic processes and social structures are vastly different from the dictatorial states that were in power in the past. The new dictatorial state can be best characterized in terms of its relationship to the class structure and economic system and can be best represented by the term “neo-fascist.” In essence, this type of state exists based on the permanent and pervasive direct use of force. Coercion is the crucial element that keeps the various classes together in production relations. The ideological element of state plays a clearly secondary role and is restricted to the few. Authority is embodied in the agents of force. Authority is not simply regarded as a source of legitimacy. The submission of the citizens to the state is not based on the recognition of legitimacy of its authority, but it is based on the fear which is generated by state’s threat or use of force. In this way, the “authoritarian” tradition is embraced by a larger universe of violence that pervades all aspects of society and affects all aspects of social life. Violence permeates the organization of the state. Military officials run the governments. But, this does not mean that the military has taken on political and economic tasks; rather it means that violence has penetrated the political and economic life of the country. Education and labor relations are dictated and enforced by officials who have direct contact with repressive forces, i.e., military or police. When

4  Radical Structuralist View


the officials of violence become involved in bureaucratic roles and routines within bureaucratic structures, they can take advantage of dynamic linkages that allow them to draw upon the tools of violence, to circumvent the procedures and lines of authority of bureaucratic organization and to engage in extra-bureaucratic modes of expression. What appears as the bureaucratic structure is a facade that acts as a disguise for the multiple forms of repression and the arbitrary nature of the state. In other words, the notion of bureaucratic authoritarianism is an ideology that mystifies the violent and arbitrary nature of the state. The neo-fascist state is first and foremost an essentially a repressive state. It is an apparatus that destroys mass mobilization organizations and annihilates militants. In other words, it systematically demobilizes the masses. The neo-fascist state performs other tasks as well. It “reconstructs,” that is, it creates policies, institutions, and conditions which are necessary for a particular type of socioeconomic development. That is, the second major task of neo-fascist state is to create the conditions of large-scale, long-term economic expansion based on the promotion of multinational capital. Thus, the very process of demobilization of the masses complements the policy of creating optimal conditions for capitalist development. More specifically, the process of repressing the Left is portrayed as “disciplining” the labor force for capitalist production and the growth of foreign investment in manufacturing. Mining and agriculture are portrayed as the elaboration of infrastructure projects through the growth of state firms. During the 1960s and 1970s, Iran experienced rapid industrial growth and the infusion of large amounts of foreign capital. This was because Iran possessed raw materials which were of great value to the industrial countries, it had substantial earnings that turned Iran to a huge market for exports to Iran, it was ruled by a regime that facilitated the free flows of capital into and out of the country, and the regime could contain the discontent of laborers and nationalists. With further sophistication of the industrial processes in the advanced countries, it became necessary to increase the flow and improve the production of raw materials that fed into these processes. In this way, development in Iran occurred with the use of new technologies for the extraction, processing, and transportation of raw materials. This new investment was accompanied by the growth in satellite industries and the growth in  local consumption, as well as by substantial state investments in joint ventures and complementary activities. The rate of industrial growth was high, and a substantial increase occurred in the size and importance of the social strata that was tied to the new industries. But the changes were concentrated in particular regions, and they accentuated socioeconomic differences. The growth in new forms of industry eroded older forms of production and relegated their producers to marginal roles, without creating a new base of support for the new industrial projects. The first stage of the development model, in a sub-imperialist country like Iran, was initiated under a strictly harsh dictatorial regime that systematically excluded the economic producers from any form of political representation. The regime’s total domination and control paved the way for the re-concentration of income in the hands of property-owning classes, as well as the attraction of international financial and corporate groups who were interested in large-scale, long-term investments in a


5  Iranian Revolution: Four Paradigmatic Views

politically secure environment. This process of capitalist growth “from above and the outside” not only limited the activities of the existing social, political, and economic groups but also limited their influence as well as excluded them from the new political and economic processes. Small property owners were overwhelmed by the rise in urban land prices, and those who were unable to sustain operations in major cities moved to peripheral cities and towns. Imported finished goods, which were low-priced, forced local producers’ handicraft and small workshops out of business. The state authorities’ growth of power undermined the influence of traditional religious and cultural figures. More specifically, the state’s increasing monopolization of education, the press, and other vehicles of value formation led to the reaction of traditional right-wing groups against the advance of dictatorial capitalism by appealing to the displaced and down-graded social strata. The first stage of political-economic growth is characterized by government’s ruthless uprooting of older representative social and political organizations and by government’s efforts to implant the conditions for economic concentration and growth. The regime launched massive and savage assaults on the Left, and afterward, it consolidated a system of permanent repression. The second stage builds on the groundwork which has been established in stage one and is characterized by large-scale economic expansion, the institutionalization of the regime (accompanied by the modernization of the police force), and the attempt to foster collaborative social and political association among the producers. In this period of expansion, a large number of workers and technicians are incorporated into the economy. More specifically, rural migrants and a new middle class become members of a stable labor force but at the price of accepting the conditions of domination. In this period, labor conflicts are limited and are harshly repressed; in addition, street demonstrations by students and marginal urban producers are kept separate from most of the modem productive facilities. The third stage involves the continuous accumulation of capital, the expansive and intensive growth of industrialization, and the “acculturation” of the industrial labor force and middle class to an industrial, class-divided society. Not only the size and scope of the modern industrial and service sector change but also the quality of the participants in these sectors change. More specifically, their demands and frame of reference are no longer in terms of the former agricultural, feudal society but in terms of the prevailing conditions of urban-industrial society. The proletarianization process destroys the relative improvement which was experienced by those earlier rural migrants who became laborers. Similarly, the economic costs as well as social and political constraints, with which the members of the educated middle class employed in the service sector constantly deal, diminish the value of the status achievements and consumer goods which played a very important role during the earlier periods. This means that the regime’s primitive, exclusionary, and dictatorial forms of domination are in conflict with the demands of the modern working and middle class in the urban-industrial centers. Industrial expansion involves a process of class transformation that comes into conflict with the strict political control through which the very industrial expansion was promoted. The demands to decompress wages lead to the creation of collective organization, which in turn generates

4  Radical Structuralist View


demands for political representation independent of the regime. The demand for political autonomy from the state goes far beyond those within the capitalist sector. Autonomy from the state is also demanded by petty commodity producers, marginalized masses, and traditional cultural figures who have been either displaced, bypassed, or adversely affected by the dynamics of reproduction and accumulation of capital. The convergence of dissatisfied modern working and middle classes within capitalist production, as well as dissatisfied petty commodity producers and traditional cultural leaders, turns into a society-wide protest that threatens the domination of the regime. When the older propertied groups and the new property-less groups withdraw their support for the regime, they isolate the repressive apparatus and undermine its ideological appeals. Since the opposition includes property owners, the struggle is not between the propertied group and the property-less group. Since the opposition includes both workers and employees, the struggle is not between “modernity” and “traditionalism.” The repressive apparatus of the regime operates nakedly exposed, without the passive acquiescence of the masses, without ideological legitimacy, and without people’s political and social support. It generates increasingly wider internal divisions that can, in the final analysis, topple the regime. Between 1965 and 1975, Iran experienced a period of accelerated capitalist industrialization, which was centered in the capital city of Tehran and its surrounding region. This heavily concentrated geographical region was the site of more than one-half of all manufactured goods produced, of the primary non-oil adjunct industries (automobiles, etc.), and of an industrial work force that represented 22% of the total laboring population. The large-scale incorporation of imported technology into the economy, which was intended to facilitate the industrial transformation of the country, contributed to the highly uneven pattern of development, which was overwhelmingly confined to Tehran and a few provincial cities. The financing of the industrialization project was mainly provided by foreign capital, as well as the Iranian government investments, which was largely made from government revenues that began to soar with the quadrupling of world oil prices in 1973. Petrodollar profits increased successively from $8  l7 million in 1968 to $2.25 billion in 1972–1973 and to $19.6 billion in 1975–1976. During l973–1974, the combined output of the industrial and mining sectors increased by 18%, the number of new companies registered in major population centers almost doubled, total capitalization in the economy rose almost threefold, and per capita income went up from $501 to $821. From 1973 to l976, the output of the manufacturing sector increased at an annual rate of 17%. By 1977, state expenditures constituted 60% of all industrial investments in Iran. The government also played a crucial role in extending financial credit to the urban bourgeoisie for their participation in the industrialization program; however, the economic activity of this class was mainly limited to trade as well as investments in housing and light industry. This process of state-directed industrialization was accompanied by an increasingly urbanized population, which constituted a major shift in demography. Unemployed rural laborers migrated to the cities for employment in the booming manufacturing and construction sectors of the economy. The agricultural work


5  Iranian Revolution: Four Paradigmatic Views

force, as a percentage of the total economically active population, declined from 75% in 1945 to less than 60% in 1966 and to approximately 33% by the late 1970s. High levels of unemployment in the agricultural sector were, in large part, a result of the government’s 1960s multi-phased agrarian reform program, which was a program to promote a capitalist transformation in the countryside. The agrarian reform program created a rural bourgeoisie, whose members received substantial amounts of economic and technical assistance from various government agencies. However, about 40% of the rural population received no land under the agrarian reform program. Between 1956 and 1966, 80% of the decline in the agricultural labor force was constituted by the rural workers who were made landless by the agrarian reform program and who, therefore, moved to the urban areas in search of employment. By 1977, the growing importance of industrial wage labor in the Iranian economy had become evident: out of the total economically active population of 10.4 million, about 2.5 million were employed in the approximately 250,000 manufacturing firms, and another one million were employed in the construction sector. In Iran, the economic transformation toward an industrial capitalist society involved the exploitation of labor in the “modern” sectors, the weakening of traditional economic forces (petty commodity producers, as well as pre-capitalist, commercial, and religious groups), and the intensification of class and regional inequalities. To gain and maintain the monopoly of power, the Shah’s regime preferred the application of a strategy that indiscriminately repressed all opposition forces. As a result, it failed to connect traditional social relations to capitalist modernization. An important example is the regime’s refusal to delegate to the religious (Islamic) community a sphere of influence with respect to social policy, with its accompanying prestige. Newly established state banking and financial institutions, as well as trading companies, displaced the traditional commercial and moneylending centers, which were run by the bazaaris (small merchants and traders). The displacement of this class generated its growing discontent with respect to its economic position in society. The massive oil-related profits of 1973–1974 temporarily mitigated the hostility of the bazaari entrepreneurs toward increased government intervention in the economy. But it soon resurfaced in reaction to the ongoing corrupt practices within the state structure and the incapacity of the regime to contain inflation. Their continued resentment of government policies was intensified in response to government’s l975 “anti-profiteering” campaign, during which more than 250,000 businesses were briefly closed, over 8000 shopkeepers were jailed, and 23,000 shopkeepers and merchants were sentenced to deportation to remote areas of the country (but were later rescinded). The increasing opposition of the religious people and the bazaaris to the Shah’s rule was further reinforced by the state’s intervention in the educational system. Prior to the Shah’s intervention, the sons of the bazaaris received their education from the religious leaders (mullahs) who, in turn, received large-scale financial support from the bazaar community. During the first stage of industrialization, the new workers who had joined the urban labor force were not fully integrated into the capitalist productive process. But, in this second, or “peak,” phase, they became proletarianized to some degree, i.e., their earlier improvement in living standards relative to agriculture was

4  Radical Structuralist View


c­ ompletely eliminated. Income disparities between skilled and unskilled industrial wage laborers, as well as between urban and rural workers, continued to widen year after year. The wage increases during 1973–1975 were less than the rate of inflation, a rate that was fueled by (1) bottlenecks and shortages which were created by inadequate communications, ports, and power facilities; (2) increased dependence on food imports (from $32 million in 1973 to $1.5 billion in 1978); and (3) large-scale military expenditures. The real rate of inflation was about 50% for the 3  years between 1975 and 1977. It eroded everyone’s purchasing power, whether the working class or the bourgeoisie. By late 1977, the repressive and corrupt ruling class needed to deal with its oil-­ financed industrialization program’s problems: (1) the lack of competent administrators, bureaucrats, and skilled manpower; (2) insufficient energy sources and an inadequate communications infrastructure; (3) rising food prices and housing costs; (4) faulty economic planning; (5) massive waste of resources; (6) spiraling inflation; and (7) growing regional and socioeconomic class inequalities. In August, the government acted to contain inflation by credit control policy. This signaled a slowdown in the industrialization program. This strategy had three main consequences. (1) The construction industry, which mainly employed unskilled rural labor, experienced a severe contraction. Overall, rural migrants suffered the greatest decline in living standards because of inflation, food shortages, and the need to use a large portion of their income to pay for residential rent. (2) The bazaar merchants, who were not only dependent on state credits to finance many of their activities but also adversely affected by inflation, felt that their economic role in society was increasingly threatened by the pattern of capitalist development, which had narrowed their possibilities for capital accumulation and upward social mobility. (3) Local industrialists, who were joined by the merchants, expressed their opposition to price controls, anti-profiteering campaigns, and various government policies that had placed limits on their capital accumulation and expansion. Increasingly, the opposition to the Shah gravitated toward Islamic religious centers. Only these centers were remained out of the government’s “reach,” despite the government’s policies that eroded their economic independence (through property losses) and that took over their social-civil functions (through control of law and education) for which the clergy had traditionally been responsible. With the growth of resentment to the regime’s social and political policies after 1973, the mosque became the focus of opposition, as it was the only institution that was able to give voice to people’s discontent in a situation where every political activity was prohibited. This new phase of the struggle against the Pahlavi dynasty was organizationally enhanced due to the fact that the bazarris and the clergy had an established network of national communication. Opposition forces, which were at a low level and fragmented until 1973, gradually gained momentum. A variety of social classes consisting of either those exploited and/or excluded by the industrialization process (old property groups, new property-less groups, the national bourgeoisie, the petty bourgeoisie, etc.) or those repressed by the closed nature of the political system (intellectuals, students, etc.) formed a loose but increasingly massive movement that sought the Shah’s


5  Iranian Revolution: Four Paradigmatic Views

overthrow. The anti-government struggle was initially centered in the mosques which were located in the cities of some of the provinces. But, it rapidly moved to the larger urban areas, principally in Tehran and its surrounding region, as the bazaari and proletarian forces increasingly joined the anti-dictatorial struggle. As the struggle progressed, the divisions within society at large were reflected in the Shah’s repressive military-police apparatus. More specifically, many conscripted soldiers either refused to fire at anti-regime protesters, or deserted the armed forces due to their social class ties. To see this more clearly, it might be necessary to note that soldiers were separated from officers by a wide gulf and this separation was one of the chief sources of tension. Officers were pampered and privileged with high salaries, personal servants, free medical care, and access to special low-priced stores. Privates and corporals, on the other hand, were usually conscripts, who were drawn from the same strata of society that produced many of the participants in the demonstrating crowd, and, therefore, they were subject to the same set of religious and political influences. They are well-fed, but they are ill-paid. The mosque became the epicenter of this phase of the struggle against the Shah’s dictatorship, but it was the industrial working class, specifically the oil workers, who played the crucial role in effecting the demise of the regime. Oil field strikes took place between September and December of l978 and involved about 67,000 workers who pumped, refined, and shipped the country’s petroleum resources. The annual value of Iran’s oil exports, in the late 1970s, was in the range of $22 to $23 billion. Oil export was the primary foreign exchange earner that played a critical role in financing the state’s capitalist industrialization program. Hence, the anti-­ regime oil field strikes struck at the very core of the economy’s lifeline. The oil workers’ actions had two major political effects: (1) they qualitatively and quantitatively strengthened the forces which were pushing for the overthrow of the Shah; and (2) they weakened the regime’s international support, especially Iran’s capitalist-­ bloc petroleum customers. In mid-October, a strike by 35,000 oil workers and administrative personnel based on economic and political demands (i.e., wage increases, dismantling of the state security apparatus “SAVAK,” release of political prisoners, termination of the prevailing martial law, and punishment of corrupt officials) reduced oil production within 1 month, from 5.3 million barrels per day to 0.8 million barrels per day. In response to this strike, the government threatened to arrest strike organizers and to dismiss striking workers from their jobs. At the world’s largest petroleum complex in the city of Abadan (located in the southwestern part of Iran), the government’s armed forces arrested all 12 members of the strike committee. In addition to the use of force, the regime offered substantial bonuses and increases in the pay raises which were previously offered to the striking workers. These government policies played an important role in the decision of the workers’ representatives in calling for a return to work. In early December 1978, industry-wide strikes and work stoppages resumed. By the end of the month, the country’s oil production was as low as 600,000 to 700,000 barrels a day, compared to a peak capacity of six million per day and a daily domestic consumption of about 700,000 barrels per day. The Prime Minister failed when he intimidated the workers or threatened to break the strike with incarceration and

4  Radical Structuralist View


legal prosecution before a military court. Indeed, the government’s subsequent arrest of strike leaders only strengthened the workers’ desire to continue the struggle. The government attempted to entice the workers to return to the oil fields by offering them a “bribe” in the form of pay raises of 60% to 100%; however, the government’s tactic failed to achieve its desired result. By the end of 1987, the alliance of reactionary and “modem” groups brought the Shah’s rule down. The critical role of the oil workers in the economy and the key role played by the entirety of the working class must, however, be viewed in light of the fact that the working class was not in a position to assume the leadership of the opposition movement. Organizational preeminence was in the monopoly of the right-wing religious forces, who were essentially able to define the terms of the struggle through their prestige among, and influence over, the Iranian masses. Iran, under the Shah, reflected the contradictions of capitalist development very acutely. In Iran, strict and prolong dictatorial rule was exerted during a period of massive economic and demographic change. The continuous expansion of urban areas and investments of the order of multi-billion dollars were accompanied by the growth of modem working and middle classes in the petroleum and its derivative industries as well as government services. The state undermined the authority of the older traditional religious and cultural leaders, and, in some cases, government’s agrarian reforms transferred land from religious notables to commercial farmers. After the oil price rise of 1973, the influx of petroleum dollars led to speculative fever, skyrocketing prices, and a relative decline in living standards for many people. The oil price rise, furthermore, exacerbated all of the contradictions which are inherent in the pattern of uneven development. It increasingly affected the employed, salaried, and wage-earning classes, as well as those who were on the periphery of the “growth sectors.” The tensions between the autocratic dictatorship and the increasingly socially differentiated population were, for some time, weakened by the constant operation of the secret police within civil society. The only arenas in which political organization and activity were immune from police interference were the pre-capitalist religious bodies. They had an independent network for mobilization and suffered from the onslaught of capitalist expansion. The absence of alternative political arenas channeled all political grievances through the only legitimate organization: that of the traditional religious leaders who were seeking to regain their political autonomy and their economic base. Thus, the “religious” riots acted as the starting point for a string of struggles. Over time, these struggles surpassed the original “reactionary” core and embraced broad strata of population whose aim was to democratize the social system as well as the political system, to nationalize the economy, and to liberalize the basis of political representation. The emerging protest movement had an inclusive nature, which was indicative of the experience of various groups and classes which had been subject to exploitation, exclusion, and domination. The enormous cost of urban-industrial growth, which were incurred, and the vast inequalities which were generated by the Shah’s collaborations with the American, Western European, and Japanese capital created, as its counterpart, an irresistible wave of opposition that included a broad array of classes: petty producers, industrial


5  Iranian Revolution: Four Paradigmatic Views

workers, intellectuals, engineers, managers, and other professionals. Classes and groups who were seeking political changes within the industrial/urban sector merged with those seeking to recover traditional political and economic power. This merger resulted in a broad-range movement that limited the capacity of the Shah’s dictatorship to launch a massive wave of terrors and purges. This movement succeeded in ousting the Shah but was immediately confronted with a new set of conflicts over how the new dominant social bloc would be reconstituted.

5  Conclusion This chapter briefly discussed four views expressed with respect to the Iranian revolution. The functionalist paradigm believes that economic problems resulted in the Iranian revolution. The interpretive paradigm believes that cultural variables resulted in the Iranian revolution. The radical humanist paradigm believes that Shah’s secular anti-religious ideology resulted in the Iranian revolution. The radical structuralist paradigm believes that the capital accumulation and expansion on the world scale resulted in the Iranian revolution. Each paradigm is logically coherent – in terms of its underlying assumptions – conceptualizes and studies the phenomenon in a certain way, and generates distinctive kinds of insight and understanding. Therefore, different paradigms in combination provide a broader understanding of the phenomenon under consideration. An understanding of different paradigms leads to a better understanding of the multifaceted nature of the phenomenon.

References Abrahamian, E. (1979). Iran in Revolution: The Opposition Forces. MEIRP Reports, No. 75–76, Iran in Revolution, 3–8. Abrahamian, E.. (1980). Structural Causes of the Iranian Revolution. MERIP Reports, No. 87, Iran’s Revolution: The Rural Dimension, 21–26. Ahmad, Iqbal, 1979, “The Iranian Revolution: A Landmark for the Future,” Race and Class, 21:1, 3–11. Akhavi, Shahrough, 1980, Religion and Politics in Contemporary Iran, Albany, New York: State University of New York Press. Alam, Asadollah, 1991, The Shah and I: The Confidential Diary of Iran’s Royal Court, 1969–1977, London, England: I.B. Tauris. Algar, Hamid, 1972, “The Oppositional Role of the Ulama in Twentieth-Century Iran,” in Keddie, Nikki R., (ed.), Scholars, Saints, and Sufis: Muslim Religious Institutions in the Middle East Since 1500, pp. 231–255 Chapter 9. Algar, Hamid, 2001, Roots of the Islamic Revolution, Oneonta, New York: Islamic Publications International. Amuzegar, Jahangir, 1977, Iran: An Economic Profile, Washington, DC: The Middle East Institute. Arjomand, Said Amir, 1985, “The Causes and Significance of the Iranian Revolution,” State, Culture and Society, 1:3, 41–66.



Arjomand, Said Amir, 1988, The Turban for the Crown, Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. Ashraf, Ahmad and Banuazizi, Ali, 1985, “The State, Classes and Modes of Mobilization in the Iranian Revolution,” State, Culture and Society, 1:3, 3–40. Azad, Shahrzad, 1980, “Workers’ and Peasants’ Councils in Iran,” Monthly Review, 14–29. Behnam, M. Reza, 1986, Cultural Foundations of Iranian Politics, Salt Lake City, Utah: University of Utah Press. Bill, James A., 1982, “Power and Religion in Revolutionary Iran,” Middle East Journal, 36:1, 22–47. Bill, James A., 1988, The Eagle and the Lion: The Tragedy of American-Iranian Relations, New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press. Burns, Gene, 1996, “Ideology, Culture, and Ambiguity: The Revolutionary Process in Iran,” Theory and Society, 25:3, 349–388. Chehabi, H.E., 1990, Iranian Politics and Religious Modernism: The Liberation Movement of Iran under the Shah and Khomeini, Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press. Clawson, Patrick, 1977, “The Internationalization of Capital and Capital Accumulation in Iran and Iraq,” Insurgent Sociologist, 7:11, 64–73. Cottam, Richard, 1988, Iran and the United States: A Cold War Case Study, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: University of Pittsburgh Press. Dabashi, Hamid, 2006, Theology of Discontent: The Ideological Foundations of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers. Fisher, Michael, 1980, Iran: From Religious Dispute to Revolution, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. Foran, John, 1993a, “Theories of Revolution Revisited: Toward a Fourth Generation,” Sociological Theory, 11:1, 1–20. Foran, John, 1993b, Fragile Resistance: Social Transformation in Iran from 1500 to the Revolution, Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press. Gasiorowski, Mark J., 1991, U.S. Foreign Policy and the Shah: Building a Client State in Iran, Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press. Goldstone, Jack A., 1986, “Revolutions and Superpowers,” in Adelman, Jonathan R., (ed.), Superpowers and Revolutions, New York, New York: Praeger, pp. 38–48, Chapter 4. Graham, Robert, 1979, Iran: The Illusion of Power, New York, New York: St. Martin’s Press. Halliday, Fred, 1979, “Theses on the Iranian Revolution,” Race and Class, 21:1, 81–90. Hooglund, Eric J., 1982, Land Reform and Revolution in Iran, 1960–1980, Austin, Texas: University of Texas Press. Hoogvelt, Ankie, 1997, Globalization and the Postcolonial World: The New Political Economy of Development, Baltimore, Maryland: Johns Hopkins University Press. Jazani, Bijan, 1980, Capitalism and Revolution in Iran: Selected Writings of Bijan Jazani, London, England: Zed Press. Katouzian, H., 1981, The Political Economy of Modern Iran – Despotism and Pseudo Modernism, 1926–79, New York, New York: New York University Press. Kazemi, Farhad, 1980, Poverty and Revolution in Iran, New York, New York: University Press. Kazemi, Farhad, 1995, “Models of Iranian Politics, the Road to the Islamic Revolution, and the Challenge of Civil Society,” World Politics, 47:4, 555–574. Keddie, Nikki R., 1972, “The Roots of the Ulama’s Power in Modern Iran,” in Keddie, Nikki R., (ed.), Scholars, Saints, and Sufis: Muslim Religious Institutions in the Middle East Since 1500, pp. 211–229 Chapter 8. Keddie, Nikki R., 1979, “Oil, Economic Policy, and Social Conflict in Iran,” Race and Class, 21:1, 13–29. Keddie, Nikki R., 1981, Roots of Revolution: An Interpretive History of Modern Iran, New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press. Keddie, Nikki R., 1983, “Iranian Revolutions in Comparative Perspective,” American Historical Review, 88:3, 579–598.


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Keddie, Nikki R., 1995, Iran and the Muslim World: Resistance and Revolution, New  York, New York: New York University Press. Keddie, Nikki R., 2003, Modern Iran: Roots and Results of Revolution, New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press. Looney, Robert E., 1982, Economic Origins of the Iranian Revolution, New  York, New  York: Pergamon Press. Moaddel, Mansoor, 1993, Class, Politics, and Ideology in the Iranian Revolution, New  York, New York: Columbia University Press. Moran, Theodore H., 1978-1979, “Iran Defense Expenditures and the Social Crisis,” International Security, 3:3, 178–192. Parsa, Misagh, 1989, Social Origins of the Iranian Revolution, New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press. Petras, James F. and Morley, Morris H., 1981, “Development and Revolution: Contradictions in the Advanced Third World Countries – Brazil, South Africa, and Iran,” Studies in Comparative International Development, 16:1, 3–43. Ramazani, Rouhollah K., 1980, “Iran’s Foreign Policy: Perspectives and Projections,” in Joint Economic Committee Congress of the United States, Economic Consequences of the Iranian Revolution, Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, pp. 65–97. Reich, Bernard, 1980, “The United States and Iran: An Overview,” in Joint Economic Committee Congress of the United States, Economic Consequences of the Iranian Revolution, Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, pp. 5–21. Taheri, Amir, 1986, The Spirit of Allah: Khomeini and the Iranian Revolution, Bethesda, Maryland: Adler and Adler Publishers Walton, Thomas, 1980, “Economic Development and Revolutionary Upheavals in Iran,” Cambridge Journal of Economics, 4, 271–292. Yousefi, Mahmood, 1984, “Dimensions of the Iranian Revolution: A Review Essay,” Western Political Quarterly, 37:2, 343–352. Zabih, Sepehr, 1979, Iran’s Revolutionary Upheaval: An Interpretive Essay, San Francisco, California: Alchemy Books. Zabih, Sepehr, 1982, The Mossadegh Era: Roots of the Iranian Revolution, Chicago, Illinois: Lake View Press. Zonis, Marvin, 1983, “Iran: A Theory of Revolution from Accounts of the Revolution,” World Politics, 35:4, 586–606. Zonis, Marvin, 1991, Majestic Failure: The Fall of the Shah, Chicago, Illinois: University of Chicago Press.

Chapter 6

Ideology: Four Paradigmatic Views

Any explanation of ideology is based on a worldview. The premise of this book is that any worldview can be associated with one of the four broad paradigms: functionalist, interpretive, radical humanist, and radical structuralist. This chapter takes the case of ideology and discusses it from the four different viewpoints. It emphasizes that the four views expressed are equally scientific and informative; they look at the phenomenon from their certain paradigmatic viewpoint; and together, they provide a more balanced and a more comprehensive understanding of the phenomenon under consideration. In this chapter, Sects. 1, 2, 3, and 4 present the four perspectives, and Sect. 5 concludes the chapter.

1  Functionalist View The exposition and illustration of a conceptual scheme for the analysis of ideology can be made in terms of the action frame of reference. In this framework, the fundamental concept is the social system of action. That is, the process of the interaction of the individual actors is treated as a system in the scientific sense, which is subjected to the same order of theoretical analysis which has been successfully applied to other types of systems in other sciences.1 In scientific investigation, cognitive interests have unquestioned primacy. Furthermore, on the instrumental level of the practical applications of science, cognitive interests have primacy. However, consideration of ideologies is not concerned with cognitive primacy, but with evaluative primacy. It is impossible for the expressive interests to have clear primacy in a belief system, because then the cognitive 1  For this literature, see Barth (1976), Boudon (1989), Freeden (2003), Kennedy (1978), Lane (1962), Lukes (1990), Parsons (1951, 1959), and Sutton (1956). This section is based on Parsons (1951).

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020 K. Ardalan, Understanding Revolution, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-47591-8_6



6  Ideology: Four Paradigmatic Views

interest would be subordinated to the expressive interest and there would be a ­system of expressive symbols, not of beliefs. On the other hand, the cognitive interpretation of the meaning of these symbols would become a process of scientific investigation which would bring it over into the realm of cognitive primacy again. An ideology is a system of beliefs which is held in common by the members of a collectivity, which may be a society, or a sub-collectivity of a society, including a movement deviant from the main culture of the society. An ideology is a system of ideas whose orientation is the evaluative integration of the collectivity. This is implemented by the interpretation of the empirical nature of the collectivity, the current circumstances of the collectivity, the processes by which the collectivity has developed to its current state, the goals of the members of the collectivity, and their relation to the future course of events. As long as the cognitive interest has clear primacy, the belief system is scientific or philosophical. Such belief systems always contribute to the building of an ideology, but the belief system does not constitute an ideology. Likewise, when the belief system concerns only the interpretation of a situation for the attainment of a specific goal, e.g., victory in war, the belief system is a set of instrumental beliefs and does not form an ideology. To constitute an ideology, there must be some level of evaluative commitment to the belief system as an aspect of the membership in the collectivity. That is, subscription to the belief system must be institutionalized as part of the role of membership in the collectivity. Of course, there is a certain variation in the mode and degree of this institutionalization. It may be completely informal, or it may be made formal by subscription to a specified set of rules with sanctions for deviance enforced by a specific agency. The members of the collectivity must have the obligation to accept its tenets as the basis for their actions. The welfare of the collectivity must hinge on the implementation of the belief system. The central focus of an ideology is on the empirical aspects of the interpretation of the nature and situation of the collectivity. But these empirical aspects should be combined with nonempirical aspects when the justification of the ultimate goals and values of collective action becomes involved. This is in sharp contrast to a system of religious ideas which rests primarily on the nonempirical premises of its belief system and works backward to their implications for the empirical nature and situation of the collectivity. The orientation of an ideology is toward the evaluative integration of the collectivity. This means that the members of the collectivity feel that the welfare of the collectivity is bound up with the maintenance and implementation of the belief system. This does not mean that the actors who subscribe to the belief system need to have a sophisticated theory of what integrates the collectivity. A belief system acquires integrative significance for the collectivity when the members of the collectivity hold common attitude toward it. Ideology should be considered in the context of the integration of social systems at the level of patterns of value orientation as institutionalized in role expectations. These patterns of value orientation form part of the cultural tradition. Cognitive orientation also forms part of the cultural orientation. Human beings’ values do not exist apart from their beliefs which give them cognitive meaning. The dimension of

1 Functionalist View


cognitive orientation to the situation is just as essential to a total system of cultural orientation as is that of value orientation to the choice alternatives of action. Cognitive orientation is analytically independent of value orientation but related to it. The more a cultural tradition is concerned with consistency, the more highly that cultural tradition is rationalized. In such a cultural tradition, the value orientations tend to be relatively more consistent with the belief system. Therefore, their interdependence may be assumed. The relative consistency in the value-orientation patterns of a collectivity must extend to its system of beliefs which give cognitive meaning to the value orientations. Since it is assumed that the ideological beliefs and value patterns are interdependent, then the relative stability and consistency of the belief system have the same order of functional significance as do stability and consistency of the value-­ orientation patterns. Therefore, there will be a set of beliefs for which the cognitive conviction of truth and the moral conviction of rightness are merged. This integration is generally imperfect, but it is of high order of significance to a social system. This is because the subscription and obligation to them form the collectivity’s members’ roles. Ideology provides cognitive legitimation of patterns of value orientation. Value-­ orientation patterns constitute definitions of the situation in terms of the choice alternatives of action. In a given situation, it is not possible to give primacy both to technical competence and to the particularistic solidarity. An ideology tries to rationalize the value selections, give reasons why one direction of choice rather than its alternative should be selected, and explain why it is right and proper that this should be so. Cognitive legitimation derives its importance from both the general importance of cognitive orientation in action and the need to integrate this with the other components of the action system. Because of the importance of the cognitive interest, cognitive deficiencies in the belief system constitute a source of strain. In a value system, the relative significance of the value of truth may vary over a wide range. But the extreme situation in which no value is attached to truth is not possible. Such a situation would be radically incompatible with the empirical relevance of the action frame of reference. The sharing of common belief systems among the members of a collectivity is a necessary condition for the full integration of a system of social interaction. Cognitive differences and cognitive inadequacies constitute sources of strain. In the action frame of reference, the trend to rationality is similar to the optimization of gratification. In this context, an actor should not prefer an increment of deprivation to an increment of gratification unless there is a balancing gratification elsewhere in the system. Similarly, according to cognitive standards, an actor should prefer a more adequate belief to a less adequate belief. That is, the actor should prefer truth to error. This is true unless the cognitive inadequacy strain is balanced by an interest elsewhere in the system, e.g., in the sharing of beliefs. Rationalization sets an inherent directionality of the action process in terms of the conceptual scheme, not as an empirical generalization. As in the case of gratification, the balance of forces may facilitate this process, impede it, or even


6  Ideology: Four Paradigmatic Views

c­ ounteract it. But to impede or counteract, the tendency to rationalization always requires motivational forces. Empirically, the relevant forces need to be located in the action system and in their relations to each other. It is possible for the cognitive interest to be inhibited by its relations to other elements of action. It is also possible for cognitive distortions to result from very powerful and hence effective motivations. Nonetheless, belief in cognitive validity is a functional necessity of the action frame of reference. The sacrifice of cognitive value standards constitutes an element of strain in the action frame of reference. Cognitive legitimation becomes very special when the relation between ideology and religious ideas is considered within the social system. This emanates from the fact that in ideologies, the cognitive interest is not as independent as it is in the cases of scientific investigation and instrumental application of knowledge in specialized roles and with respect to specific goals. Cognitive legitimation of value orientations involves the integration of cognitive values with the other elements of the social system. The cognitive content of ideologies may deal with classes of situational objects such as physical objects, personalities, collectivities, and cultural objects. Beliefs about the natural world form an important part of the cultural tradition of a social system. Such beliefs acquire ideological as well as purely cognitive-investigative or instrumental significance. The elaboration and generalization of such a belief system gain importance, and in a few societies, such elaborations have become very sophisticated and ideological, which is one of the salient facts of the modern world. Beliefs about the world of nature are important in the general cultural tradition and for the ideology of natural scientists. However, the more prominent content of social ideologies concerns the beliefs about personalities, collectivities, and cultural objects. Indeed, the social ideology focuses on beliefs about the collectivity, with the significance of and the relations of personalities and cultural objects to the collectivity. Thus, “collectivism” as an ideological problem concerns the mode of integration of the individual personality system with the collectivity. To the extent possible, the cognitive standards of ideological legitimation of value orientations must be scientifically valid. At any given time, the most developed empirical knowledge in any field is the state of science in that field. Therefore, the validity of any ideological tenet as a cognitive proportion must be checked with science. However, unlike science, ideology has an integrative function in the social system which involves having relations to many other interests than the cognitive interests of scientists. This means that the standards of science may not prevail in the determination of the beliefs which will actually be held. In this case, there would have to be adjustive mechanisms which are homologous with the mechanism of rationalization in the personality system. The central role of science in ideology has made the relationship of the social sciences to ideology particularly acute. Consequently, the high development of social science is subject to a special set of conditions of integration in the social system. An ideology is a belief system held in common by the members of a collectivity. It serves to legitimize the value-orientation patterns central to a stable society. When fully institutionalized, ideology is the established beliefs of the social system. In a

1 Functionalist View


complex social system, there are different ideologies held by various sub-­ collectivities of the larger society. These ideologies may or may not be deviant. Two types of deviant ideologies may be considered. The first is what may be called the deviant subculture. Here, the legitimation of values and the ideology of the wider society lack general appeal, and there is an open state of war. However, there exist an ideology and a value system within the deviant collectivity. It may be called “counter-ideology.” The second type is the ideology of the radical movement which seeks legitimation for becoming the institutionalized value system. Therefore, the ideological preoccupation of their members is very intense, with the hope of winning proselytes by convincing them that aspects of the established society are illegitimate. In the light of the tensions involved in these situations and the motivational elements which are likely to be involved in either of these two types of deviance, it is not surprising that the beliefs of such deviant collectivities often show signs of compulsiveness in the psychological sense. The believer must be protected against any challenges to his belief, not least from within himself. On high levels of generalization, as in the thought of radical intellectuals, this is very likely to take the form of the closed system. There are likely to be pseudological devices by which the general formulae of the belief system can be believed to yield a satisfactory answer to any question, so that the possibility of damaging evidence turning up need not be a source of anxiety. Of course, compulsive conformity with an institutionalized ideology may lead to the same order of cognitive distortion. The antithesis to the orientation of science is too patent to need elaboration. The two types of deviant ideologies serve to call attention to some of the bases to cognitive distortions in conformist ideologies. In a complex social system, it is not possible for a single ideology to be completely and evenly institutionalized. Because of the intimate relation between value-orientation patterns and ideologies, this element of imperfection of integration in the value system poses cognitive problems on an ideological level. The first source of cognitive distortion of ideologies stems from the fact that integration of the social system is the primary function of the ideology. When this integration does not occur in the actual social structure, the tendency for the ideology is to “gloss it over” and “play it down.” In these cases, the ideology becomes homologous with the rationalization in the personality system. A second source of the cognitive distortion of ideologies lies in the need of mass psychology. Since the ideology must serve to unify large numbers and since some of them are not intellectually competent, there is a tendency to oversimplification and the use of very simple slogans and formulae. A third and final source of cognitive distortion of ideologies is the strongly evaluative quality of ideologies which tends to take advantage of the wishful or romantic-­ utopian element of motivation which is present in every social system. In the case of the ideological legitimation of the status quo, it tends to overidealize the state of affairs. In the case of a deviant movement, it tends to include a romantic-utopian component in the definition of the goals of the movement.


6  Ideology: Four Paradigmatic Views

Ideologies may become the symbolic battleground of the tension and conflict which exist within a social system. There is an inherent tendency to polarization through the development of vicious circles, which must be subject to the mechanisms of social control. Two possible mechanisms are traditionalization and authoritarian enforcement. A third modern mechanism links ideologies to the institutionalized intellectual disciplines dealing with their subject matter. Therefore, social sciences have a particularly crucial position relative to the ideological balance of the social system. Social ideologies have concerns with social sciences, and social sciences cannot avoid problems which touch on ideological interests. It seems practically impossible to avoid the conflict between the two major types of cognitive interest. The cognitive distortions of ideologies tend to be uncovered and challenged by the social scientist. Some of the results may be painfully accepted and implemented slowly over time, allowing for assimilation. This is why the guardians of ideological purity tend to be highly suspicious of what social scientists do. The liberal mechanism, which permits free interplay among ideologies and science, depends for its stability on a rather delicately balanced combination of conditions in the social system. It may also be an important condition for the growth of science and therefore societies.

2  Interpretive View Ideology as an entity in itself is an ordered system of cultural symbols. Functionalists study ideology via a highly developed social and personality system which lacks the culture (i.e., the symbol system) as its major component.2 In functionalists’ strain theory, ideology is both a symptom and a remedy. Ideologies are seen against the background of a constant effort to correct sociopsychological disequilibrium. It is based on the idea that men flee anxiety. The strain theory is complex, penetrating, and comprehensive, but is not enough concrete. The strain theory subtly ferrets out the motives of ideological concern, but its analysis of the consequences of such concern remains crude and evasive. Its diagnosis is convincing; but its functionality is not. The weakness in the strain theory stems from the absence of a sophisticated conception of the processes of symbolic formulation. It talks a good deal about emotions, that is, finding a symbolic outlet or becoming attached to appropriate symbols, but its analysis of how the trick is really done is very brief. Its discussion of the relation between the causes of ideology and its effects is sporadic because it leaves out the autonomous process of symbolic formulation. The term “symbol” may be defined broadly to signify any physical, social, or cultural act or object that serves as the vehicle for a conception. 2  For this literature, see Baradat (2011), Berger and Luckmann (1966), Ellis and Stimson (2012), Geertz (1973), Hawkes (2003), Heywood (2012), Hunt (2009), and Ricoeur (1986). This section is based on Geertz (1973).

2 Interpretive View


Sociologists should use symbolic resources in terms of which to construct a more incisive formulation. They should recognize what the elements of “style” are and understand that the way such elements operate is of prime importance in casting personal attitudes into public form. The term “style” refers to metaphor, analogy, irony, ambiguity, pun, paradox, hyperbole, rhythm, and all their related elements. The sociology of knowledge should be called the sociology of meaning. This is because what is socially determined is not the nature of conception, but the vehicle of conception. It is thus not truth that varies with social, psychological, and cultural contexts but the symbols which people construct in their unequally effective attempts to grasp it. The study of symbolic action is as important as any sociological discipline, but it is a good deal less developed. Through the construction of ideologies, i.e., schematic images of social order, man makes himself a political being. Man is the agent of his own realization. He creates out of his general capacity for the construction of symbolic models the specific capabilities that define him. An ideology is one sort of cultural symbolic system. In society, the various sorts of cultural symbol systems are extrinsic sources of information and act as templates for the organization of social and psychological processes. They come into play when they contain a particular kind of information which is lacking in a daily life situation, i.e., when institutionalized guides for behavior, thought, or feeling are weak or absent. It is in a country unfamiliar emotionally or topographically that one needs poems and road maps. In polities that are firmly embedded in fixed rules of conduct, the role of ideology is marginal. In such political systems, the participants act according to the rules. The participants, both emotionally and intellectually, are guided in their judgments and activities by unexamined prejudices. Such prejudices, in the moment of decision, do not leave them hesitating, skeptical, puzzled, and unresolved. But at the time of a revolutionary change, those hallowed opinions and rules of life come into question. The search for systematic ideological formulations flourishes, the purpose of which is either to reinforce the existing ones or to replace them. The function of ideology is to make an autonomous politics possible by providing both the authoritative concepts that render it meaningful and the persuasive images by means of which it can be sensibly grasped. Formal ideologies tend to emerge and take hold when a political system begins to free itself from the immediate governance of received tradition, from the direct and detailed guidance of religious or philosophical canons, and from the unreflective percepts of conventional moralism. The autonomous polity implies the differentiation of a separate and distinct cultural model of political action. This is because the older, unspecialized models are either too comprehensive or too concrete to provide the type of guidance the new political system demands. The older models either restrain political behavior by hampering it with transcendental significance or stifle political imagination by connecting it to habitual judgment. Ideologies begin to become crucial sources of sociopolitical meanings and attitudes when neither a society’s general cultural ­orientations nor its down-to-earth pragmatic ones suffice to provide an adequate image of the political process.


6  Ideology: Four Paradigmatic Views

It is no contradiction if such ideologies call for the reinvigoration of custom or the reimposition of religious hegemony. This type of favorable argument is constructed in support of tradition only when tradition’s credentials have been questioned. To the degree that such arguments gain public appeal, they bring ideological traditionalization, not a return to naïve traditionalism. It can, therefore, be said that ideology is a response to strain. But now it includes cultural as well as social and psychological strain. The need for ideological activity arises when there is loss of orientation, an inability, or lack of usable models to comprehend the universe of civic rights and responsibilities in which one lives. The development of a differentiated polity (or of greater internal differentiation within such a polity) commonly brings with it social dislocation and psychological tension. It also brings conceptual confusion, as the established images of political order are being set aside. The rise of systematic (political, moral, or economic) ideologies is due to the experience of a confluence of sociopsychological strain with an absence of cultural resources by means of which to make sense of the strain and where each exacerbates the other. Ideologies attempt both to make otherwise incomprehensible social situations meaningful and to make it possible to act purposefully within them. These attempts reflect both the ideologies’ high figurative nature and the intensity with which they are held, if accepted. Elements of literary style (such as metaphor, irony, hyperbole, etc.) extend language by broadening its semantic range and enable it to express meanings it cannot express literally. Ideologies use literary style and provide novel symbolic frames to match the myriad unfamiliar situations which are produced by a transformation in political life. In the literature, ideologies have been considered as projections of unacknowledged fears, disguises for ulterior motives, or phatic expressions of group solidarity. But most distinctively, they are the maps of problematic social reality and matrices for the creation of collective conscience. In any particular case, whether the map is accurate, or the conscience credible, is a separate question, to which one can hardly give the same answer, e.g., for Nazism and Zionism, for the nationalism of McCarthy and of Churchill, and for the defenders of segregation and its opponents. Ideological activity is widespread in modern societies, but it is most prominent in nations where the initial steps away from the traditional politics of piety and proverb are being taken. The attainment of independence, the overthrow of ruling classes, the drive to obtain legitimacy, the rationalization of government, the rise of modern elites, the spread of literacy and mass communications, and the activities of inexperienced governments in the complex international order lead to a sense of disorientation. It is disorientation because the prevailing images of authority, responsibility, and civic purpose seem radically inadequate. Therefore, the search for a new symbolic framework to formulate, think about, and react to political problems is tremendously intense. The ideological search is intense because the new nations are searching for usable political concepts and the outcome is uncertain, i.e., even a broad assessment of overall direction is extremely difficult to make. The whole political process is mired in a slough of ideological symbols, each attempting to give point and purpose to its polity. The society undergoes frantic revisions and there is a desperate search

2 Interpretive View


for a political order. The change has started but no one knows how to finish it. Intellectually, everything is in motion and chaos; opinions are mixed; parties are without order; the language of new ideas has not been created; and it is very hard to define oneself in religion, in philosophy, and in politics. One feels, one knows, one lives, and one dies, but one does not know why. The world has a jumbled catalog, and it is very difficult to classify things and men. In new nations, it is not the case that the disorder is purely or primarily ideological and that they disappear before a political change of heart. The problems are very wide-ranging. The society and its members undergo tremendous social and psychological strains. This is reflected in society’s failure to create a conceptual framework in terms of which to shape a modern polity. Almost everything is jumbled, and it takes more than theory to un-jumble them. In addition to theory, it requires administrative skill, technical knowledge, personal courage and resolution, endless patience and tolerance, enormous self-sacrifice, a virtually incorruptible public conscience, and a great deal of good luck. A very elegant ideological formulation is not a substitute for any one of these elements. In fact, in their absence, the ideology degenerates into a failure, a diversion to prevent despair, an effort to conceal reality rather than reveal it. In addition to the ideological problem, these new societies face a tremendous population problem; an extraordinary ethnic, geographical, and regional diversity; an economy in chronic recession; a severe lack of trained personnel; a severe poverty; and a pervasive, implacable social discontent. Their social problems seem insoluble apart from the ideological problem. New nations need ideological guidance in order to find their way through the mountain of problems. Ideology with a vision of public purpose anchored in a compelling image of social reality provides the motivation to seek and use technical skill and knowledge, the emotional resilience to support the necessary patience and resolution, and the moral strength to sustain self-sacrifice and incorruptibility. It is true that none of these qualities may be present, that irrationalism and unrestrained fantasy may continue, that the next ideological phase may be even further from the ideals for which the social change was fought than is the present one, that the nation may continue to be the scene of political experiments from which others benefit much but she herself very little, or that the ultimate outcome may be totalitarian. But no matter which way events move, the determining forces are not wholly sociological or psychological but partly cultural, i.e., conceptual. The task of the scientific study of ideology is to create a theoretical framework adequate to the analysis of such three-dimensional processes. Critical and imaginative works are answers to questions posed by the situation in which they arose. They are stylized and strategic answers. There is a difference in style or strategy. For instance, when one says “yes” in tonalities that imply “thank God!” differs from when one says “yes” in tonalities that imply “alas!”. So there is an initial working distinction between “strategies” and “situations,” whereby any critical or imaginative work can be thought of as the adoption of various strategies for the encompassing of situations. These strategies analyze the situations, name their structure and essential ingredients, and name them in a way that contains an attitude toward them.


6  Ideology: Four Paradigmatic Views

This point of view is not equivalent to personal or historical subjectivism. The situations are real; the strategies for dealing with them have public content, to the extent that situations overlap from individual to individual or from one historical period to another, the strategies possess universal relevance. Both science and ideology are critical and imaginative work, i.e., they are symbolic structures. However, they have marked differences between them, and at the same time, they are related to one another. An objective formulation of the nature of their differences and their relationship should be achieved by proceeding from the concept of stylistic strategies. This approach should be preferred to a detailed concern with comparative epistemological or axiological status of the two forms of thought. In the same way that the scientific studies of religion should not begin with questions about the legitimacy of the substantive claims of their subject matter, the scientific studies of ideology should not begin with such questions either. The best way to deal with any controversy or paradox is to circumvent it by reformulating one’s theoretical approach so as to avoid ending up on the same path of argument that led to it in the first place. Science and ideology are cultural systems. Their differences are to be sought in their symbolic strategy for comprehending situations that they respectively represent. Science names the structure of situations with a disinterestedness attitude toward them. Its style is restrained, spare, and analytic. It shuns the semantic devices that formulate moral sentiment. It seeks to maximize intellectual clarity. Ideology names the structure of situations with a commitment attitude toward them. Its style is ornate and suggestive. It objectifies moral sentiment through the same devices that science shuns. It seeks to motivate action. Both are concerned with a problematic situation and are responses to a lack of needed information. But the information needed is quite different, even in cases where the problematic situation is the same. An ideologist is no more a poor social scientist than a social scientist is a poor ideologist. The two are in quite different lines of work, lines so different that little is gained by judging the activities of the one against the aims and standards of the other. Science is the diagnostic and critical dimension of culture, and ideology is the justifactory and apologetic one, i.e., it is concerned with the establishment and defense of patterns of belief and value. The patterns of belief and value which are defended by ideology may be those of a socially subordinate group or those of a socially dominant one and therefore the apology for revolution or reform. Thus, there is a clear natural tendency for the science and ideology to clash, particularly in cases where they are directed to the interpretation of the same range of problematic situations. But it is a dubious assumption that the clash between science and ideology is inevitable because the findings of (social) science necessarily always undermine the validity of the beliefs and values that ideology has chosen to defend and propagate. A scientific and apologetic attitude toward the same problematic situation is not a contradiction in terms but a sign of intellectual sophistication. Although science and ideology are different enterprises, they are related to each other. Ideologies do make empirical claims about the condition and direction of society, which it is the duty of science (and where scientific knowledge is lacking, it is the duty of common sense) to assess. The social role of science with respect to

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ideologies is first to understand them (i.e., what they are, how they work, what gives rise to them) and second to criticize them and to force them to come to terms with (but not necessarily to surrender to) reality. The existence of social science is one of the most effective guarantees against ideological extremism. This is because it provides a reliable and honorable source of positive knowledge for the ideology to work with. However, social science is not the only such check. The existence of competing ideologies carried by other powerful social groups in the society is at least as important as is a liberal political system in which dreams of total power are obvious fantasies and as are stable social conditions in which conventional expectations are not continually frustrated and conventional ideas are not radically incompetent.

3  Radical Humanist View Ideology refers both to the ideas, concepts, images, theories, metaphors, and stories that mystify social reality and block social change and to those programs of social reconstruction that mobilize people for social activism. The former actually acts as a political doctrine and as the hegemonic ideas in a given class or society. The latter refers to the hegemony which is a form of domination in the sphere of ideas, exemplified in the triumph and predominance of bourgeois ideology over feudal ideology.3 Some of the extant social theories mystify these social functions by defining ideology as political “isms” and thus divert attention from criticizing ideology and analyzing hegemonic ideas. Other social theories state that ideologies refer to the dominant ideas in a society and that these ideas are necessary to provide a social bond. Such theories naturalize ideology by taking ideology for granted and fail to analyze its distortions, its role as a mask for special interests, and its repressive functions. Ideology is not solely determined by either the economy or pure consciousness. Emphasis has to be placed on both the material grounding of ideology and its important role in social life. There exists a relative autonomy of ideas in a complex reciprocal interaction of being and consciousness, and not one-way causal determination. That is, there exists a dialectical relationship between being and consciousness, including both the interaction between ideas and social life and the relative autonomy of ideas. Ideologies should not be treated as empty fantasies or mere ideas. Dialectical materialism grasps philosophies and other ideological systems as ­realities and treats them in practice as such. In fact, those who criticize the dominant ideology are thereby attacking an extremely important part of the existing social order. Those who combat the dominant ideology by their intellectual action and ideological critique are involved in an important element of class struggle. To 3  For this literature, see Boggs (1976), Eagleton (2007), Gramsci (1971), Kellner (1978), Korsch (1970), Lukacs (1971), Mannheim (1936), and Zizek (2009, 2012). This section is based on Kellner (1978).


6  Ideology: Four Paradigmatic Views

avoid the neglect of ideology, intellectual life should be combined with social and political life. Moreover, the study of social being and becoming (in the widest sense, as economics, politics, or law) should be in conjunction with social consciousness in its many different manifestations. Historically, the concept of ideology has become increasingly important. Ideology retarded working-class advances. This was because the working class became the victim of bourgeois ideology as it had not adequately developed its own ideology and revolutionary consciousness. Hence, there has been a need to place increased emphasis on developing the subjective conditions of revolution. Ideology should be regarded as the dominant ideas of a given society, i.e., ideology as hegemony. Ideology as a project of social reconstruction can be turned to and institutionalized as instruments of domination. Theory of ideology reflects the formation of the ideology of a rising class, which is based on the generalization of the rise of bourgeois ideology as a weapon against feudalism and the rise of Marxism as a weapon against bourgeois society. Liberalism was progressive and subversive to feudal ideology and society. Liberalism provided new syntheses of knowledge, new dimensions of awareness, and a new critique of tradition that were radical. It energized the members of society by giving them new senses of power and a new impetus to action. It directed their energies and enthusiasm into political action. It rejected the social order as it was and provided the systematic idea of a better, freer, and more rational social order. However, at the same time that the bourgeoisie gained power and became the dominant class, its political-social theories became the dominant ideas of the society. Its system of thought performed a stabilizing function, legitimated their class rule and the domination of the working class. The bourgeois promises of right, freedom, equality, fraternity, and democracy were not experienced by the great masses of workers. Thereafter, there was a contradiction between liberal ideology and liberal society, between bourgeois theory and bourgeois practice. Thus, the bourgeois revolutionary program of social reconstruction became an instrument of class domination. This is the classical formulation of ideology as the dominant ideas of the dominant class, i.e., ideology as hegemony. When bourgeois ideology became increasingly hegemonic, proletarian ideologies began to emerge, which contained a variety of critiques of bourgeois ideology and society. Then, a synthesis of these working-class views emerged, which involved a relentless attack on the reigning bourgeois ideology. This constituted an important component of the class struggle. In this way, a new revolutionary ideology of the ascending class as a rational program of social reconstruction emerged against the bourgeois ideology and society. But when a variety of versions of the proletarian ideology were institutionalized, they partly became an instrument of hegemony, serving the interests of the new socialist ruling elite by legitimating the institutions of the emerging socialist societies. Hence, these versions of the proletarian ideology partly turned from a progressive-critical ideology of a rising revolutionary movement into a hegemonic ideology. Ideology is a product of the bourgeois revolution. It was developed as a weapon against feudalism. It reflected the power of ideas and provided a justification for the

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bourgeois society. A justification provided in defense of the problems encountered in bourgeois society in fear of the working class. A society that is really stable, rational, and self-confident does not require justification. But the bourgeois society requires ideology as a crucial component of its social order, and later socialist societies would produce their own ideology. The ruling class exercises power and maintains social control through two distinct methods of force and consent. Ideology wins consent for the social order, unifies the society, and is lived in everyday experience. A variety of cultural forms serve as instruments of ideological hegemony. Hegemonic ideology attempts to legitimate the existing society, its institutions, and its way of life. It induces people to consent to their society and see its way of life as natural, good, and just. Ideology gains hegemony when it is widely accepted as describing the way things are, which acts as a powerful force for social cohesion and stability. Hegemonic ideology becomes the dominant, most widely shared beliefs which are incorporated in social practices and institutions. In this way, hegemonic ideology becomes part of everyday consciousness and serves as a means of indirect rule. All ideologies are based on basic assumptions about the social world. Ideologies may be sophisticated products of theorists written on the state, free enterprise system or human nature with a systematic structure. Ideologies may turn into blind prejudices or biases and be used as a crude cover for brute domination, such as racism, sexism, chauvinistic nationalism, etc. Ideologies may focus on a limited domain of experience, or they may be totalistic. Ideologies are both descriptive and prescriptive. They describe entities in the world (such as the market, the state, the university) and prescribe certain attitudes or behavior toward them. They provide theories about the economy, state, and education that legitimate certain institutions and ideas and prescribe conformist acceptance. Ideologies are value-laden but have a rational core. Any society needs an ideology to serve as its social bond, by providing a shared set of ideas, images, and values. Hegemonic ideology orients people toward the dominant beliefs and practices, enabling people to understand how the society works in its own terms. That is, hegemonic ideologies are survival mechanisms which provide road maps for people to make decisions and interact in their daily life. Hegemonic ideology masks existing domination, inequality, and injustice, but it may have a core of emancipatory and utopian elements, such that they may be turned against the dominant ideology and society. For instance, the liberal concept of equality contains a utopian dimension in a bourgeois society while failing to materialize it. Such a contradicting fact can be used to confront the dominant ideology and demand its realization. Hegemonic ideologies face competition with emerging radical ideologies and need to deal with older residual ideologies. In general, hegemonic ideologies ­incorporate aspects of these ideologies. For instance, hegemonic bourgeois ideologies mix elements of love, mutual aid, religion, and the intimacy of the family, as well as egotism, the cash nexus, and consumerism. Hegemonic bourgeois ideologies also incorporate state planning and welfare state notions into its political economy.


6  Ideology: Four Paradigmatic Views

Thus, hegemonic ideologies are flexible and adapt to changing historical circumstances and oppositional struggles. Therefore, they are often full of contradictions as they adapt and make concessions. In the area of cultural production, artists and intellectuals are consistently challenging hegemonic ideology by subverting it from within. This leads to hegemonic ideologies having both cohesive and disintegrating elements, as the history of such concepts as “freedom,” “democracy,” “civil rights,” and “equality” testifies. Rather than being solely imposed from above, hegemonic ideologies are more reactive, amorphous, and subject to class struggle. For example, the progressive notions of democracy advocated by radical theorists are diluted into the ideologies and practices of democracies in advanced capitalism. Hegemonic ideologies partly reflect compromises made among competing ideologies within the ruling class and the oppositional ideologies. For instance, in capitalist societies, the shift in ideologies from having minimal state to having the welfare state took effect under the pressure of economic crisis, conflicts within the ruling class, and challenges by oppositional forces. Thus, hegemonic ideology embodies contradictions, faces oppositional ideologies, makes adjustments, and involves shifts. Hegemonic ideology attempts to define the limits of ideological discourse, by setting the political agenda, by defining the issues and terms of debate, and by screening oppositional ideas. Hegemonic bourgeois ideology is committed to preserving the capitalist property rights and market system at all costs. In the ruling class, there are differences on how best to preserve capitalism, but they all agree that socialism must be combated. When the dominant ideology is directly threatened by a revolutionary ideology, the dominant class resorts to force rather than use ideological persuasion. Otherwise, the dominant class makes ideological concessions. Thus, the limits of ideological discourse change in response to pressures from oppositional forces, disagreements within the ruling class, and socioeconomic circumstances. Systematic and comprehensive dominant ideologies are produced by intellectuals whose aim is to perfect the illusions about their class. They construct ideologies that defend and legitimate the existing social system and combat oppositional ideologies. Revolutionary ideologies are constructed by revolutionary intellectuals whose aim is to attack the existing ideological and social system and to legitimate radical change. Therefore, one of the tasks of hegemonic intellectuals is to exclude oppositional ideas and intellectuals by either critique or suppression. Hegemonic ideology is not simply imposed on people, but it becomes effective and gains credibility when it achieves resonance with people’s experience. To remain credible, it must continually incorporate new ideas and respond to changes in people’s lives and social conditions. Hegemonic ideology takes effect through an ideological apparatus consisting of the family, school, church, media, workplace, and social group. These institutions construct, strengthen, and perpetuate the hegemonic ideology by producing and reproducing ideologies of authority, hierarchy, and conformity. Thus, hegemonic

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ideology is institutionalized in practice, lived by people, and becomes part of their everyday consciousness. Ideologies have a life of their own. They are constantly modified by social experience and social change. Ideology as false consciousness presents the complex social life as simple, natural, and unchanging states of affairs. Hegemonic ideology portrays specific forms of consciousness and social intercourse as natural, rational, universal, and eternal. The drawback with ideologies is their tendency to turn into a fixed, rigid set of stereotypes which do not fit the complexity and dynamism of social life. Hegemonic ideology provides an idealized view of social reality. Hegemonic ideology produces false consciousness by presenting private interests as public interests or by confusing partial interests with universal interests. Finally, most ideologies tend to neglect to reflect and criticize their underlying assumptions. The electronic communications revolution has changed the methods of ideology and has shifted the site of ideological struggle from the print media to electronic media. Ideology turns into a set of stereotypes, clichés, and pseudo-wisdom as it is endlessly repeated from every side. In the culture industry, culture is increasingly transformed into a mode of domination. Through the culture industry, ideology becomes the reflection of what is, and the consciousness becomes increasingly ideological. Ideology turns masses to consumers and molds and constrains their state of consciousness. The content of the new mass-produced ideology creates a synthetic identification of the people with the norms which either stay in the background or are consciously propagated by it. All that is not in agreement is censured and explicitly condemned, but conformism is inculcated. In the culture industry, ideology assumes a form of pseudo-realism, provides the precise reproduction of empirical reality, and prevents any insight into the real character of that which is offered. People thus tend to see the world through clichés and stereotypes that turn into a rigidly false consciousness which is inadequate to grasp the complexity of social reality. The dominant class uses the power of the culture industry to inculcate its ideology and restrict people’s critical consciousness and individuality. The television tube shows cultural artifacts which viewers find to be only too familiar, at the same time a series of slogans, such as that all foreigners are suspect or that success and career offer the highest satisfaction in life, are brought in as though they are evident and eternal truths. The ideology of mass culture promotes the duplication and justification of the existing conditions and the deprivation of all transcendence and all critique. Ideology no longer teaches a new idea or creates a new self; it affirms the current state of affairs and teaches stability and security; it no longer entices political action, but encourages passivity and conformity. Ideology produces a false consciousness by systematically hiding social contradictions and suppressing alternatives. Ideology is lived as common sense, realism, the way things are. Ideology becomes the internalized voice of social authority that drives individuals to do what society has decided that they should do. Ideology occupies dreams, hopes, fantasies, and


6  Ideology: Four Paradigmatic Views

reasons of people and achieves hegemony, consequently urging people not to stray in thought and deed beyond the bounds of the existing order. Individuality and autonomy are lost as a result of increasing administration and conformity in bourgeois societies. Ideology has become a means of mass deception propagated throughout society, which is most powerfully disseminated by the culture industries through the mass media.

4  Radical Structuralist View The term “ideology” is considered in the context of a materialist interpretation of history. That is, it starts with the real, active people and on the basis of their real-life process demonstrates the development of the ideological reflexes of this life process.4 Ideology is illusory ideas or false ideas determined by class interests and class-­ conditioned thoughts. It is unfounded ideas produced by an unconscious wish or interest or a body of justifactory beliefs. An ideology is a body of ideas systematically biased toward a specific social group, be it a class, a nation, a profession, or a race. An ideology analyzes man and society based on a set of assumption characteristic of a particular social group or class. It reflects a systematic worldview derived from the conditions of existence of a particular social class. Therefore, it is necessarily biased toward that social class, presents it favorably, and explicitly or implicitly states that only a society constructed on the basis of its system of thought and in accordance with its conditions of existence is fully rational and consistent with human nature. An ideology “defends,” “justifies,” “legitimates,” “speaks for,” or is an “apologia” for a certain social group. And its author is a “defender,” a “spokesman,” or an “apologist” of the social group under consideration. Since an ideology is systematically biased, it does “distort,” “conceal,” “mystify,” or “misunderstand” its subject matter. In every society, there are ideologies competing for the intellectual and political allegiance of its members. The diversity of ideologies is drastically curtailed because the social groups are not all equal. Some groups have considerable economic power and have institutionalized advantage over others. They utilize their economic power to shape the society’s political, social, and other institutions in their own group terms. In this way, they impose their worldview on the rest of society. Consequently, their worldview gains considerable social respectability that far exceeds their ­intellectual appeal. The content of the dominant ideology reflects the conditions of existence of the dominant class. In a society, there are two types of ideologies: the dominant and the subordinate. The dominant ideology articulates and generalizes the system of thought of the 4  For this literature, see Althusser (1984), Althusser and Brewster (2008), Ball and Dagger (2010), Marx and Engels (1970), Meszaros (1989), Parekh (1982), and Therborn (1980). This section is based on Parekh (1982).

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dominant social class. The subordinate ideologies articulate and generalize the ­system of thought of the other social groups. For instance, in the bourgeois society, the dominant ideology is the bourgeois system of thought, and the subordinate ideologies are the points of view of the feudal classes, the petty bourgeoisie, the working classes, the professional groups, and others. The dominant ideology shapes the system of thought of the ordinary and sophisticated members of society. The subordinate ideologies lack a coherent expression, are intellectually overwhelmed by the dominant ideology, and play a peripheral role in the society. Ideologies differ greatly with respect to their many dimensions, but they have several logical features in common, the most important of which are as follows: First, every ideology is moral or prescriptive. An ideology presents the system of thought of a particular social group as the only valid or rational way to think about man and society. In this way, the ideology portrays that system of thought as the universally valid norm to which all other social groups are expected to conform. That is, every ideology attempts to shape the entire society in the way a certain social group actually thinks and lives. For the other groups, they become norms. In other words, an ideology turns what is a fact for one group into an “ought” or “ideal” for others, that is, a moral doctrine. The biggest problem of an ideology is to present what is a fact for one group as logically consistent with what is to be a norm for the other groups. It most commonly introduces the mediating concepts of human nature and human condition. An ideology presents the ideas, experiences, and conditions of existence of a particular group as inherent in human nature and human condition; and accordingly, it makes its moral recommendations. Second, an ideology is favorably biased toward a specific social group and is necessarily biased against the other social groups. It turns the conditions of existence of the group into universal norms, its needs and interests into the sole criteria of human well-being, its view of reason into the sole criterion of rationality, and so on. In this way, the other social groups are treated as a mere means and are denied the integrity of their system of thought, experience, and conditions of existence. A dominant ideology seeks either to eliminate other ideologies altogether or only to permit them within the limits dictated by it. The bourgeois ideology insists in making everybody a bourgeois, and the petty-bourgeois ideology recommends a world of hucksters in which everyone gets the advantage deserved. Proletarian is opposed to class domination and indeed all forms of domination because, among other things, they lead to the imposition of a single form of system of thought and experience on the entire society, and prevent new forms of thought and experience, the development of the all-sided and rich individuality, and the creative release of individual energy as an end in itself. Third, an ideology cannot adequately defend itself. It is based on a set of assumptions which it neither explicitly formulated nor critically examined. It takes the experience and the system of thought of a specific social group as its frame of ­reference and constructs an elaborate theoretical system. Since it finds such premises as self-evident, it takes them for granted and can hardly provide their satisfactory defense.


6  Ideology: Four Paradigmatic Views

Fourth, the underlying assumptions of an ideology reflect the conditions of e­ xistence of the social group whose point of view it reflects. When a social group in its social life experiences the world in a uniform manner, it takes its form of experience for granted and hence thinks about it within these limits. What a social group does not transcend in social life experience, it cannot effectively transcend in thought either. The limits of its existence are the limits of its thought. In the final analysis, its basic assumptions are nothing but its conditions of existence reproduced in thought. The fundamental features of its social being or existence constitute the basic assumptions of its social thought. In a class-divided society, the dominant class needs to find ways of consolidating and perpetuating its domination. In general, it has two effective means to consider. One is to use force, and the other is to gain the support and loyalty of the dominated class by legitimation. The use of force might overcome the hostility of the dominated class in the short run, but it cannot subdue it permanently. In a class-divided society, then, the dominant class must somehow legitimate itself to the members of the other groups and therefore to all the members of society. It must get them all to agree on a common set of values and worldview. In other words, it needs an ideology. Every society requires some commonly shared belief in order to exist as a single society. Only a class-divided society needs an ideology as a necessary condition to exist. This is because in a class-divided society, the social order is exploitative. Since the nature of exploitation varies with the mode of production, the form and substance of the dominant ideology vary with the mode of production. However, ideologies in all class-divided exploitative societies have certain formal features in common: first, they obscure or conceal class conflicts; and second, they veil the fact that the social order is historical and transient by presenting it as natural and everlasting. An ideology must somehow obscure the existence of the fundamental conflicts of interest and the exploitative and antagonistic nature of society. This can be done in several different ways, but not all are equally effective. The first way is to explain away social conflicts as products of false ideas propagated by the enemies of society. This conspiratorial theory loses its effectiveness quickly particularly if it is used frequently. The second way is to neutralize the class conflicts by recourse to the moralistic love of the country, trusting and obeying the authority, putting the national interest before the personal interest, and the like. Again, this moralizing method loses its effectiveness quickly particularly if it is used frequently, because it is easily seen through if the dominant class itself appears to place its own interest above that of the nation. The third and the most effective way is to get the members of society to understand and conceptualize the social order in such a way that the conflict is made or perceived invisible. This requires all the members of society to define their human identity and interests in an identical manner, such that they all take the existing social order as given and see themselves as members of a common enterprise whose success is their common and overriding concern. The second strategy of legitimation is to present the existing social order as natural. It is not a good strategy either to argue that the existing social order is basically good and worth preserving or to argue that the prevailing social order is better than

4 Radical Structuralist View


any other and it is the best of all possible worlds. This is because they both leave open the possibility of discussion and disagreement by bringing in other forms of social organization which might be equally good or even better. The most effective way of legitimation is to argue that it is in accordance to human nature and, therefore, it is natural. Such an approach prevents any discussion because there is nothing to be gained from evaluating the merits of and exploring the alternatives to a social order which is natural. Legitimation requires that the existing social order be presented as both harmonious and natural. It needs to be presented as harmonious. Otherwise, it can hardly be presented as natural. Therefore, its conflicts must be obscured. Moreover, the harmony attained by the existing social order needs to be presented to be in accord with human nature and human condition. Otherwise, the harmony achieved by the society in question will be but one among many other alternatives. The dominant ideology generalizes the life experience and the system of thought of the dominant class. The dominant ideology maintains the conditions which are required for the continued existence of the dominant class. For instance, the existence of the bourgeois society requires certain definitions and conceptions of individual, human dignity, liberty, equality, justice, rights, etc. Once this system of thought becomes widely accepted and each member of society defines and judges one’s self accordingly, then the bourgeois society gains legitimacy. It is judged by its own standards and it is found to conform to them. The members of society also judge themselves by its standards and set themselves corresponding goals. They consider a threat to the bourgeois society as a threat to themselves. In this way, the moral domination of the bourgeois society is complete and its continued existence guaranteed. The dominant ideology, as a belief system, structures the entire society. It permeates the totality of social relations and shapes the economic, social, political, and other thoughts, practices, and institutions. It is embodied in the relations between the employers and the employees, the government and the citizens, the parents and children, the teachers and pupils, the husband and wife, between the neighbors, and so on. In addition, it shapes the language of social and public communication. It defines and structures the legal, educational, medical, and other professions. The professions reinforce each other and the dominant ideology in a systematic manner. The dominant ideology does not remain merely as a system of thought, but penetrates the lived-world and obtains an objective or material existence in the lives and relations of the members of the society. It is not only a body of beliefs but also a way of life. The members of society not only adhere to the system of beliefs but also live their beliefs. The dominant ideology structures the entire society in its image and establishes coherence between the beliefs and practices of its members. In such a society, only the ideas and forms of conduct compatible with the interests of the dominant class enjoy respectability, command attention, and deliver results. In a class-divided society, the lived-world is ideologically constituted. Ideology structures the lived-world in a systematically biased manner. It not only conceals the real world but also presents it in a radically different manner. It presents the social order as a single family happily living together and equitably sharing the national


6  Ideology: Four Paradigmatic Views

wealth; in actual fact, it is ridden with conflicts and contradictions. It presents the social practices and institutions to be in harmony with human nature; in fact, they only accord with human nature as created by the social order in question. It presents a large section of society as inherently inferior and lacking drive, ambition, and character; in actual fact, it has become so as a result of the centuries of deprivation and the lack of opportunities for growth. In short, the social world, as it is lived and experienced, radically misrepresents its real nature. The dominant ideology is not a thoroughly integrated system of thoughts and beliefs and, therefore, remains open to criticism and competition from alternative ideologies. The dominant ideology consists of different kinds and levels of ideas, drawn from different historical sources and contributed by such diverse groups as the writers, the philosophers, the journalists, and the ordinary members of the dominant class. Although this collection has some internal unity, no single individual has systematized it, and it contains large areas of incoherence. Its main unifying principle is the justification of the existing social order, and such a practical consideration is too varied and vague to achieve theoretical unity. In general, the dominant ideology cannot suppress alternative ideologies. Generally, the dominant class does not abolish all the classes belonging to the previous social order. For instance, in the bourgeois society, the landed aristocracy and its associated system of thought continued to survive for a long time. Furthermore, sometimes the dominant class uses older ideologies as additional sources of its legitimation, thereby exposing the society to alternative systems of thought. The dominant ideology cannot entirely suppress the ideologies belonging to the past, and it can even less successfully suppress the ideologies belonging to the future. The dominant class and the dominated class are historical twins. They both grow. As it grows, the dominated class, as a class, acquires a cohesive sense of identity and a firm self-consciousness. It has its own pool of experiences and interests which lead to novel questions to which the dominant ideology cannot easily answer. The dominant ideology has an internal contradiction. It is universalistic in form but particularistic in content. As such, it can be subverted by providing its general form with a different content. For instance, the dominant ideology in the bourgeois society propagates equality to legitimize the bourgeois society. Although it defines equality to mean the equality of rights, its critics may ask why it should be so narrowly conceived and go on to define it broadly to include the equality of opportunity and even the equal right to live fulfilling lives. The dominant ideology contains an internal contradiction also because the dominant class cannot itself satisfy it. Here are several examples. The dominant ideology encourages putting the national interest above the sectional; yet the bourgeoisie ignores the national interest when their own interest is at stake. Again, the dominant ideology propagates minimal government and individual liberty; and yet the bourgeoisie votes for a strong government and extensive restrictions on individual l­ iberty when threatened by social upheavals. Yet again, the dominant ideology preaches the ethic of hard work; and yet the bourgeoisie themselves rarely abide by it. The everwidening gap between the ideology and the conduct of bourgeoisie eventually shows that it is a body of allegedly universal principles which are only meant for others.



5  Conclusion This chapter briefly discussed four views expressed with respect to ideology. The functionalist paradigm views ideology as a social bond. The interpretive paradigm views ideology as a road map. The radical humanist paradigm views ideology as a domination instrument. The radical structuralist paradigm views ideology as the ruling class ideas. Each paradigm is logically coherent – in terms of its underlying assumptions – and conceptualizes and studies the phenomenon in a certain way and generates distinctive kinds of insight and understanding. Therefore, different paradigms in combination provide a broader understanding of the phenomenon under consideration. An understanding of different paradigms leads to a better understanding of the multifaceted nature of the phenomenon.

References Althusser, Louis, 1984, Essays on Ideology, London, England: Verso. Althusser, Louis and Brewster, Ben, 2008, On Ideology, London, England: Verso. Ball, Terence and Dagger, Richard, 2010, Political Ideologies and the Democratic Ideals, New York, New York: Pearson. Baradat, Leon P., 2011, Political Ideologies, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall. Barth, Hans, 1976, “The Ideology of Destutt de Tracy and Its Conflict with Napoleon Bonaparte,” Chapter 1  in Truth and Ideology, translated by Frederic Lilge, Los Angeles: University of California Press, pp. 1–16. Berger, Peter L. and Thomas Luckmann, 1966, The Social Construction of Reality: A Treaties in the Sociology of Knowledge, Garden City, New York: Doubleday and Company, Inc. Boggs, Carl, 1976, Gramsci’s Marxism, London: Pluto Press. Boudon, Raymond, 1989, The Analysis of Ideology, translated by Malcolm Slater, Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Eagleton, Terry, 2007, Ideology: An Introduction, London, England: Verso. Ellis, Christopher and Stimson, James A., 2012, Ideology in America, Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. Freeden, Michael, 2003, Ideology: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Geertz, Clifford, 1973, “Ideology as a Cultural System,” Chapter 8, in The Interpretation of Cultures, New York: Basic Books, Inc., Publishers, pp. 193–233. Gramsci, Antonio, 1971, Selections from the Prison Notebooks, edited and translated by Quintin Hoare and Geoffrey Nowell Smith, New York, NY: International Publishers. Hawkes, David, 2003, Ideology: The New Critical Idiom, New York, New York: Routledge. Heywood, Andrew, 2012, Political Ideologies: An Introduction, New York, New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Hunt, Michael H., 2009, Ideology and U.S.  Foreign Policy, New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press. Kellner, Douglas, 1978, “Ideology, Marxism, and Advanced Capitalism,” Socialist Review, 42, November-December, pp. 37–65. Kennedy, Emmet, 1978, Destutt de Tracy and the Origins of “Ideology,” Philadelphia, PA: The American Philosophical Society. Korsch, Karl, 1970, Marxism and Philosophy, New York, Monthly Review Press.


6  Ideology: Four Paradigmatic Views

Lane, Robert E., 1962, Political Ideology: Why the American Common Man Believes What He Does, New York, NY: The Free Press. Lukacs, Georg, 1971, History and Class Consciousness, Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press. Lukes, Steven, 1990, Marxism and Ideology, Oxford: Clarendon Press. Mannheim, Karl, 1936, Ideology and Utopia: An Introduction of to the Sociology of Knowledge, translated by Louis Wirth and Edward Shils, New York, NY: Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc. Marx, Karl and Engels, Frederick, 1970 and 2004, The German Ideology, edited by C.J. Arthur, New York, International Publishers. Meszaros, Istvan, 1989, The Power of Ideology, New York, NY: New York University Press. Parekh, Bhikhu, 1982, Marx’s Theory of Ideology, Baltimore, Maryland, Johns Hopkins University Press. Parsons, Talcott, 1951, The Social System, Glencoe, Illinois: The Free Press. Parsons, Talcott, 1959, “An Approach to the Sociology of Knowledge,” in Transactions of the Fourth World Congress of Sociology, Milan and Stressa, pp. 25–49. Ricoeur, Paul, 1986, Lectures on Ideology and Utopia, edited by George H. Taylor, New York, NY: Columbia University Press. Sutton, F.X., S.E. Harris, C. Kaysen, and J. Tobin, 1956, The American Business Creed, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Therborn, Goran, 1980, The Ideology of Power and the Power of Ideology, London: Verso. Zizek, Slavoj, 2009, The Sublime Object of Ideology, London, England: Verso. Zizek, Slavoj, 2012, Mapping Ideology, London, England: Verso.

Chapter 7

Ideology of Iranian Revolution: Four Paradigmatic Views

Any explanation of the ideology of the Iranian revolution is based on a worldview. The premise of this book is that any worldview can be associated with one of the four broad paradigms: functionalist, interpretive, radical humanist, and radical structuralist. This chapter takes the case of the ideology of the Iranian revolution and discusses it from the four different viewpoints. It emphasizes that the four views expressed are equally scientific and informative; they look at the phenomenon from their certain paradigmatic viewpoint; and together, they provide a more balanced and a more comprehensive understanding of the phenomenon under consideration. In this chapter, Sects. 1, 2, 3, and 4 present the four perspectives, and Sect. 5 concludes the chapter.

1  Functionalist View Islamic liberalism was represented by the Liberation Movement of Iran, whose most influential thinker and proponent was Engineer Mehdi Bazargan. He was born and raised in a pious Azerbaijani family, which was well-known in the Tehran Bazaar. After he graduated from high school, he studied in France for 5 years at the elite “Ecole centrale des arts et manufactures.” After his graduation, in the mid-­1930s, he returned to Iran and started his private business – and became a prosperous businessman  – as well as joined the prestigious University of Tehran, in which he served with distinction as dean for several years.1 Around 1943, he started his long-term religious involvement and was instrumental in the founding of several associations, such as Engineers’ Association, the

 For this literature, see Bazargan (1951, 1971, 1976, 1977, 1983a, b) and Chehabi (1985). This section is based on Chehabi (1985).


© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020 K. Ardalan, Understanding Revolution, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-47591-8_7



7  Ideology of Iranian Revolution: Four Paradigmatic Views

Islamic Students’ Association, and the Islamic Association of Engineers, in which he frequently gave lectures to spell out his vision of a modern Islam. When Dr. Mosaddeq was the Prime Minister, Bazargan was appointed to be the Provisional Chairman of the Board of the newly constituted National Iranian Oil Company. After Mosaddeq was ousted by the Shah’s 1953 coup, Bazargan started his political involvement. Immediately, he played a crucial role in founding the NRM, i.e., “National Resistance Movement” (Nehzat-e Moqavemat-e Melli). In 1957, with the arrest of the NRM’s entire leadership, its activities ended. With the liberalization that accompanied the Kennedy Administration (1960–63), Bazargan resumed his political activities in the reconstituted “National Front.” Soon, however, conflicts appeared within the National Front, separating the secular, politically more cautious members from the religious, politically more radical members. Consequently, in May 196l, Bazargan founded the “Freedom Movement of Iran” (Nehzat-e Azadi-ye Iran), whose party members prefer the alternative translation “Liberation Movement of Iran,” i.e., the LMI. In January 1963, the leaders of the LMI were arrested and sentenced to long-term prison because the LMI has become the most active and important opposition force in Iran. Outside Iran, the LMI sympathizers founded the external branch of the movement. The younger members of the LMI formed “the Mojahedin movement,” as they reasoned that political methods failed and that only violence could bring down the Shah’s dictatorship. In 1967, Bazargan was release from prison and limited his activities to religious writings and speeches. With Jimmy Carter’s human rights policy, Bazargan, in 1977, founded “the Iranian Committee for the Defense of Freedom and Human Rights” and became its first chairman. This organization became the most important component of “Nationalist Opposition” before the 1979 revolution. After the revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini appointed Bazargan as the Prime Minister of the Provisional Government, because Bazargan was a high-statured politician who was acceptable to both the nationalists and the religious establishment. He, however, resigned in the wake of the hostage crisis in November 1979. Bazargan, in 1980, was elected to the parliament, in which he tried to play the role of a loyal opposition. Before the elections of 1984, Bazargan announced that because of his old age he would withdraw form elections. The LMI was prohibited from campaign, as fundamentalists believed Bazargan was gharbzadeh (“West-­ struck”) in Islamic disguise. Bazargan, before embarking on his political career, was active as a religious modernist who started in the late 1940s to provide a new interpretation of Islam, in which he called for a return to the origins, i.e., Islamic principles. According to Bazargan, Islam provides general outlines for the governance of society but leaves the details to be worked out by believers according to the needs of the time. Moreover, the Qoranic injunction to “consult with them upon the conduct of affairs” (3:159), and the principles of “enjoining what is good and preventing what is evil” can be understood as a plea for wide-­ ranging participation of the citizenry and accountability of the rulers vis-a-vis the ruled. (Chehabi, 1985)

2 Interpretive View


Bazargan’s interpretation is that a parliamentary, democratic system of g­ overnment that operates in a society whose citizens’ conducts are based on Islamic values and ethics represents an Islamic government. This is, furthermore, an Islamic order rather than an Islamic State. Bazargan’s ideas had a close resemblance to liberal democracy. He believed that there is no compulsion in religion. Bazargan, as a modernist, emphasized the rationalistic character of Islam. He played down Mere faith … as a manifestation of an earlier (although in its time fully justified) form of religiosity, which Islam has now transcended. God created man free. Open debate, meaningful only under conditions of free speech, is therefore in the long run the most efficient way to bring about voluntary compliance with Islam. (Chehabi, 1985)

For instance, with respect to the Islamic veil, Bazargan believed that the act of forcing women to wear the chador and scarf is 100 times worse than going uncovered. Bazargan believed that for Muslims to improve their situation, they need to take their destiny in their own hands. He believed that the West had positive and negative features and that Islamic countries should learn from the positive features of the West. He suggested that The main source of the Muslim’s plight … is that very early in their history religion withdrew from public affairs as pious people concentrated on practicing their religion and left the conduct of social and political affairs to those not committed to Islamic values. One result of this divorce was the emergence of a class of religious men who were oblivious to practical concerns. (Chehabi, 1985)

He believed that Muslims must act rather than hold fatalistic attitude toward the course of events. Furthermore, Muslims must become a political force, as Muslim presence in social and political life would make the entire society Islamic. Islamic liberalism involves neither an uncompromising conviction of religious fundamentalism, nor the utopic promise of Islamic socialism. Islamic liberalism … is often seen as a bland variety of socialism on which so much of the Third World has staked its hopes for the future. In Iran, liberalism is a strain of thought that has sought to reconcile some of the basic freedoms associated with western liberal democracy with elements of the Islamic faith. (Chehabi, 1985)

The attempts of Western-oriented Iranian thinkers to combine the ideals of individualism, freedom, parliamentarianism, and pluralism with Islamic theology constitute a major contribution to Middle Eastern philosophy. Such attempts are hoped to reconcile modernism with Islam.

2  Interpretive View The Iranian Revolution of 1978–1979 included a social group that was determined to reconstruct the government based on Islamic legal principles as interpreted by their experts trained in Shi’i jurisprudence. This social group can be called


7  Ideology of Iranian Revolution: Four Paradigmatic Views

“­ clericalist” because (1) its leaders were members of the Shi’i ulama or clergy and (2) its clerics and their lay followers strongly believed in the fundamental reestablishment of the primacy of Islam in social life and the primacy of clergy in political life. Historically, clerics had been politically active in Iranian society throughout the twentieth century, and therefore, seeking an active political role for the clergy was not novel to the revolution. However, the clericalists advocated an ideology of “Islamic government,” which was based on the following two ideas: (1) clerical political activism and (2) ultimate political authority of religious ruler, rather than secular ruler.2 Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini was the founder of the clericalist ideology. His ideas reflected his belief that religion was under attack by secular rulers in Iran. When Khomeini was a seminary student in Qom, in the late 1920s, he was concerned with the consequences of secularization for Islam and its clergy. His significant political engagement started in the early 1960s, when he became the most serious clerical opponent of various domestic and foreign politics of the Shah. More specifically, Khomeini criticized (1) certain secular laws that were undermining the influence of religious values and exposing Muslims to moral decadence and (2) relations with foreign powers, especially the United States, that were resulting in Iran’s dependency and exploitation. Indeed, these criticisms constituted the essential components of the clericalist world view. His strong ideas and persistent political activities led the Shah, in 1964, to expel him from Iran to Iraq, where he lived and taught from 1965 to 1978. It was in exile, in the Shi’i theological center of Najaf, Iraq, that Khomeini articulated his ideas more concretely. More specifically, in 1970, he firmly believed that not only there is the need for an Islamic government based upon religious law but also there is the need for a government which is guided by a “faqih,” a theologian knowledgeable about all the sources and codices of Shi’i jurisprudence. On this basis, Khomeini declared all forms of secular rule as illegitimate; and, specifically, he declared monarchy as contrary to Islam. Originally, he presented his views in a series of lectures for his students. In 1971, he developed his ideas systematically and published as a book entitled Velayat-e Faqih: Hokumat-e Islami. This book was secretly distributed and read by Iran’s ulama and seminary students and created a distinct pro-Khomeini faction within the clergy. Many students who had studied under Khomeini and older ulama supported Khomeini in his struggle against the Shah in the early 1960s and became leaders of the clericalists. Such supporters stayed in touch with Khomeini while he was in exile and shared his ideas with the new generations of seminary students as well as their lay allies. They organized demonstrations leading to the revolution; and after the 1979 revolution, they occupied important posts in the government of the Islamic Republic. Khomeini’s former students formed the largest and the most influential 2  For this literature, see Algar (2001, 2013), Barber (1995), Bayat-Philipp (1981), Floor (1980), Griffith (1979), Hooglund and Royce (1985), Keddie (1981, 2003), Kedourie (1980), Khomeini (1981), Momen (1989), Rajaee (1983), Riesebrodt (1993), Rose (1983), Zonis and Brumberg (1987), and Zonis and Offer (1985). This section is based on Hooglund and Royce (1985).

2 Interpretive View


mass of the clericalist movement. This, as expected, reflects Khomeini’s nearly 30 years teaching career, as well as the fact that he had about 1200 students during the years immediately before his exile to Iraq. Clericalists believe in the primacy of Islam. They believe that the principal goal of the revolution was the establishment of Islam as the basis of the state. Khomeini repeatedly emphasized that the goal of his followers and the Iranian nation was not simply to bring down the Shah’s regime. Rather, their goal was the establishment of an Islamic government, by which he meant the government of God and the rule of the Quran. Clericalists do not see Islam is a metaphor for social and economic change that leads to independence from foreigners. For them, … Islam is an absolute reality. … They believe that Islam is a plan revealed by God to guide mankind in all aspects of life, including politics. Indeed, Islam is the “religion of politics.” It is absolute and cannot be challenged. Khomeini has captured the essence of this attitude: “We rose so that Muslims, and the Islamic law and the Qur’an, and the law of the Qur’an, and no law other than Islamic law would exist.” In the clericalist ideology Islamic Law as divinely revealed is accepted literally. (Hooglund and Royce, 1985)

Khomeini, almost a decade before the revolution, insisted that under Islamic government, there will be the enforcement of Islamic precepts and the punishment of those who violated them. The logical corollary of the primacy of Islamic law is that those who know and understand the law – i.e., the ulama – should obtain and exercise the ultimate political power. The ulama who are specialized in Shi’i jurisprudence are known as “faqihs.” Khomeini elevated the status of the faqihs through the development of his doctrine of “velayat-e faqih,” i.e., the custodianship of the jurist. The concept of velayat was not a new invention because it had been discussed in Shi’i tradition for several generations. In the past, however, velayat was only regarded as a general moral custodianship, not political sovereignty. While some individual members of ulama tried to broaden the concept of velayat to include political rule, their proposal was resisted by the majority of ulama. Indeed, the consensus which prevailed among the clergy at that time was that the exercise of legitimate rule was the prerogative of the Twelfth Imam who had disappeared in 874 A.D. Furthermore, as long as the Twelfth Imam remained in occultation and was absent from the world, anyone who undertakes temporal rule usurps his authority. Such ulamas’ interpretation did not lead them to condemn temporal authority, but it reinforced their negative attitude toward the participation of clergy in government. Khomeini extended the doctrine of velayat-i faqih to embrace the actual sovereignty of the jurist. For him and his clericalist supporters, … velayat should not be restricted to the mere pronouncement of judicial judgments, but should encompass the authority of the faqih to render decisions on any matter affecting the welfare of the community. … These and other powers associated with the exercise of political rule are reserved to the faqih because he is the representative of the Twelfth Imam. In effect, Khomeini rejected the traditional interpretation that temporal rute was an usurpation of the Imam’s authority and argued that the faqih, by virtue of his knowledge of the practice of the prophet Muhammad and all the Imams, was obliged to assume rule of the faithful. … The implementation of the velayat-i faqih government requires an activist clergy. The most prominent cleric, the faqih, must be above all moral reproach. The reputation for moral


7  Ideology of Iranian Revolution: Four Paradigmatic Views

rectitude is as important as renown for religious knowledge. The possession of these two qualities sets the ulama apart from the laymen and makes them appropriate spiritual and political guides. (Hooglund and Royce, 1985)

3  Radical Humanist View Dr. Ali Shari’ati was one of the main ideologues of the Iranian Revolution. Shari’ati was born in 1933 in a village near the city of Mashhad. He owes his intellectual development to his father, Muhammad Taqi Shari’ati, who was a cleric who did not wear clerical garb and openly advocated reform, as a consequence, the conservative “ulama” labeled him a Sunni, a Baha’i, and even a Wahhabi. In the late 1940s, Ali Shari’ati and his father joined a small intellectually, rather than politically, significant group called “Nahzat-i Khoda Parastan-i Sosiyalist” (the Movement of God-­ Worshiping Socialists). This was the first Iranian group who attempted to synthesize Shi’ism with European socialism.3 Shari’ati graduated from the teacher’s college of Mashhad in 1953. He taught in elementary schools for 4 years, during which he translated an Arabic book and entitled it Abu Zarr: Khoda Parasti Sosiyalist (Abu Zarr: The God-Worshiping Socialist). The original book was written by a radical Egyptian novelist by the name of Abul Hamid Jowdat al-Sahar. The book was about the life history of one of the followers of the prophet Muhammad who, after the death of Muhammad, declared the Caliphs as corrupt and resorted to the desert to live a simple life and speak out on behalf of the hungry and the poor against the greedy rich. Shari’ati and al-Sahar, as well as many other radicals in the Middle East, consider Abu Zarr as the first Muslim socialist. Indeed, according to Ali Shari’ati’s father, Ali Shari’ati regarded Abu Zarr as one of the greatest figures in world history. Shari’ati entered Mashhad University in 1958 and received his master’s degree in Arabic and French. In 1960, he obtained a state scholarship to study for a Ph.D. in sociology and Islamic history at the Sorbonne. His stay in Paris coincided with the height of the Algerian and Cuban revolutions, and he extensively read about radical politics, such as Jean-Paul Sartre, Frantz Fanon, Che Guevara, Giap, and Roger Garaudy (a prominent Christian Marxist intellectual), some of which he translated. He also got involved in revolutionary student organizations, such as the Iranian Student Confederation and the “Nahzat-i Azad-i Iran” (Liberation Movement of Iran), which followed Dr. Mossadeq. After Shari’ati’s return to Iran in 1965, he was imprisoned for 6 months. In 1967, he moved to Tehran and started lecturing at the Husseinieh-i Ershad, which was a religious meeting hall. The next 5 years constituted the most productive period of his life. His lectures were transcribed into about 50 pamphlets and booklets, which 3  For this literature, see Abrahamian (1982), Akhavi (1980), Algar (2001), Bayat-Philipp (1979, 1981), Dabashi (2006), Keddie (1981, 1983, 2003), Moaddel (1993, 2005), Sadri and Sadri (1985), and Shari’ati (1979). This section is based on Abrahamian (1982).

3 Radical Humanist View


ignited enthusiastic interest among the young generation of the discontented intelligentsia. However, in 1972, the Husseinieh ceased its activities, after which Shari’ati was imprisoned, based on the accusation that he advocated “Islamic Marxism.” He remained in prison until 1975 but remained under house arrest until May 1977, at which time he was permitted to leave for London. Only 1 month after his arrival in London, he suddenly died at the young age of 43. Shari’ati was inspired by ideas from outside as well as from within Islam. He was inspired, more specifically, by Western sociology – especially Marxist sociology – as well as by Islamic theology. He was inspired, that is, by theorists of the Third World – particularly Franz Fanon – as well as by the teachings of the early Shi’i martyrs. He, indeed, was devoted to synthesizing modern socialism with traditional Shi’ism and applying them to his contemporary Iranian environment. He was against economic determinism of “vulgar Marxism.” Shari’ati, as a sociologist, insisted on the dialectical relationship between theory and practice, between ideas and social forces, and between consciousness and human existence. Furthermore, he was interested in the sequence of the birth, growth, bureaucratization, and eventual decay of revolutionary forces, especially religious ones. Shari’ati, as a devout Shi’ite, believed that revolutionary Shi’ism, in contrast to other radical ideologies, would not become the victim of the iron law of bureaucratic decay. Shari’ati, as a public speaker, was very careful with the choice of his words, not only because the Shah’s notorious secret police (SAVAK) were interested in labeling him as an “Islamic Marxist” but also because the high-ranking “ulama” (i.e., leading clergy) distrusted any layman who attempted to reinterpret their traditional doctrine. This was because Shari’ati frequently pointed out to his audiences that their contemporary Iran was comparable to pre-Reformation Europe, and therefore, political reformers needed to understand the teachings of Luther and Calvin, apply such understanding to their environment, and constantly remind themselves that the Shi’i “ulama,” in contrast to the medieval European clergy, had much influence on the city bourgeoisie as well as on the urban and the rural masses. Shari’ati believed that developing countries, including Iran, need two interrelated and simultaneous revolutions: … a national revolution that would end all forms of imperial domination and would vitalize – in some countries revitalize – the country’s culture, heritage, and national identity; and a social revolution that would end all forms of exploitation, eradicate poverty and capitalism, modernize the economy, and, most important of all, establish a “just,” “dynamic,” and “classless” society. (Abrahamian, 1982)

Shari’ati, furthermore, believed that “rushanfekran” (i.e., the intelligentsia) have the task of carrying forward these two revolutions. This is because it is … the intelligentsia that can grasp society’s inner contradictions, especially class contradictions, raise public consciousness by pointing out these contradictions, and learn lessons from the experiences of Europe and other parts of the Third World. Finally, having charted the way to the future, the intelligentsia must guide the masses through the dual revolutions. (Abrahamian, 1982)


7  Ideology of Iranian Revolution: Four Paradigmatic Views

Shari’ati believed that the Iranian intelligentsia was fortunate because it was raised in a society that the religious … culture, Shi’ism, was intrinsically radical and therefore compatible with the aims of the dual revolution. For Shi’ism, in Shari’ati’s own words, was not an opiate like many other religions, but was a revolutionary ideology that permeated all spheres of life, including politics, and inspired true believers to fight all forms of exploitation, oppression, and social injustice. He often stressed that the prophet Muhammad had come to establish not just a religious community but an “ummat” (community) in constant motion towards progress and social justice. The Prophet’s intention was to establish not just a monotheistic religion but a “nezam-i towhidi” (unitary society) that would be bound together by public virtue, by the common struggle for “justice,” “equality,” “human brotherhood” and “public ownership of the means of production,” and, most significant of all, by the burning desire to create in this world a “classless society.” (Abrahamian, 1982)

4  Radical Structuralist View The Mojahedin was one of the most radical groups in Iran. They started formulating their ideology during the years between 1965 and 1968. They noted that the future revolution would more likely to start in the cities rather than in the countryside. Their anti-regime activities were financially supported by the merchants in Bazaar, but through the Liberation Movement, which was related to Dr. Bazargan. They were in contact with the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), especially with al-Fatah, for their training. In 1971, they started their guerrilla activities, because they had learned from contemporary history that under the Shah’s dictatorship, political routes were closed. They were mostly from traditional middle class, and they were mostly either engineers or engineering students in the top two universities in Tehran. Many of the members, over time, were arrested and tortured in prisons by SAVAK, the Shah’s secret police. Their views and reports of their activities were distributed abroad through Liberation Movement, National Front, the Islamic Student Association, and the Confederation of Iranian Students.4 The Mojahedin’s views were to some extent similar to those of Shari’ati. Both regarded Shi’i Islam as a radical movement that is opposed to any form of class-­ stratified society, such as feudalism and capitalism. Both of them … were socialists in fact if not in name, borrowing heavily from Marxism while at the same time vehemently rejecting economic determinism and the label of Marxism. Both went beyond the populism of the militant clergy to argue that the masses needed not just radical-­ sounding rhetoric but a root-and-branch transformation of the class structure. They were not mere populists but social revolutionaries. Both obtained their spiritual inspiration from Islam and viewed Shiism as an authentic expression of Iranian popular culture. Both used traditional Islamic texts and terms, but gave them radically new meanings. Both were militantly anticlerical, viewing the intelligentsia as the true exponents of Islam, calling for a Muslim Renaissance and Reformation, and developing a line of argument whose logical 4  For this literature, see Abrahamian (1982, 1989, 1993). This section is based on Abrahamian (1989).

4 Radical Structuralist View


conclusion was to make the whole religious establishment redundant: for if all believers had the right to interpret Islam, then the ulama had no special authority; if deeds and action were worthier than piety and scholastic learning, then the Islam of the mojahed was better than the Islam of the mojtahed; and if the “dialectical method” was the key to understanding the scriptures, then sociology and political economy were more important than traditional theology. Consequently, both were denounced by the traditional clergy as elteqati, monafeqin, and Marxists in Muslim clothing. (Abrahamian, 1989)

Both the Mojahedin and Shari’ati thought that it was possible to have a revolution under the banner of Islam and also have leaders for such revolution other than clerics. This was a difficult, if not an impossible, task because for the past thirteen centuries the ulama’s traditional interpretation of Islam had prevailed. More specifically, the Mojahedin and Shari’ati believed that Islam should oppose feudalism and capitalism, should fight against inhumane practices, should treat all citizens as equal, and should socialize the means of production. In contrast, … the ulama … had sanctioned polygamy, sharecropping and private property; had recommended corporal punishments, … and had advocated inequality, especially between Muslims and non-Muslims, between men and women, and between those with and without ejtehad (right to interpret the shari’a). (Abrahamian, 1989)

In addition to the fact that history gave ulama much support, their professional life gave them much support. This is because the ulama who spend a lifetime studying the Koran, the hadiths, the shari’a, and the previous Muslim scholars were regarded as being better equipped to judge what is the true Islam, rather than intellectuals who had graduated from foreign universities in fields of study such as engineering, modern sciences, and Islamology. Both the Mojahedin and Shari’ati sought a Muslim Renaissance and Reformation. But these were difficult tasks as well because Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli succeeded both due to the fact that they were Biblical scholars, and therefore, capable of challenging the church on its own ground, and that they had the active support of monarchs and local states in their fight against Rome. The parallel of this for the Mojahedin and Shari’ati was the incomparable situation of allying with the Shah against Qom. Although the Mojahedin and Shari’ati had many ideas in common, they differed in three important ways. Firstly, Shari’ati believed that Third World countries needed to find a third road to development, which would be neither capitalist nor socialist. In contrast, the Mojahedin believed that if the Third World countries embarked on the capitalist road then they would travel toward stagnation and if they embarked or the socialist road then they would travel toward economic development. The Mojahedin also believed that Islam did not offer a “third road” and that those who advocated Third Worldism were perpetuating the false hopes of “petit bourgeois” states, such as Nasser’s Egypt, Bourguiba’s Tunisia, and Numeiri’s Sudan. Secondly, Shari’ati insisted that the Third World countries needed to rediscover and retain their cultural roots, such as their religions, customs, and traditional clothes. In contrast, the Mojahedin, while did not trivialize the past, did emphasize the future and the continuous process of historical change. In this way, Shari’ati placed more emphasis on cultural imperialism and placed less emphasis on e­ conomic


7  Ideology of Iranian Revolution: Four Paradigmatic Views

imperialism. In contrast, the Mojahedin placed more emphasis on capitalism and economic imperialism and placed less emphasis on cultural roots and social imperialism. Finally, Shari’ati spent a good deal of effort on attacking “vulgar Marxism” and international communism, especially the Soviet Union. In contrast, the Mojahedin, while rejecting historical materialism, were interested in building political alliances with Marxists and therefore were willing to overlook their criticisms of the international communism in general and of the Soviet Union in particular. Furthermore, the Mojahedin declared that Muslims should learn from communist countries, such as Russia, and that Muslims should respect revolutionary Marxists. For instance, the Mojahedin declared that Marxists, such as the Feda’iyan, were their potential allies and, therefore, needed to be treated with respect. But Shari’ati viewed them as ideological rivals, who needed to be either converted or criticized. In 1975, the Mojahedin was divided into two branches, one was the Muslim Mojahedin and the other was Marxist-Leninist Mojahedin, which in 1978 joined a Maoist group named Paykar (Combat). Another group of Mojahedin, who converted to Marxist-Leninist ideology while in prison, formed a group called Rah-e Kargar (Workers’ Road).

5  Conclusion This chapter briefly discussed four views expressed with respect to the ideology of the Iranian revolution. This chapter noted that some participants in the Islamic revolution of Iran had a functionalist liberal ideology, some others had an interpretive cultural ideology, still others had a radical humanist emancipatory ideology, and some others had a radical structuralist class ideology. Each paradigm is logically coherent – in terms of its underlying assumptions – conceptualizes and studies the phenomenon in a certain way, and generates distinctive kinds of insight and understanding. Therefore, different paradigms in combination provide a broader understanding of the phenomenon under consideration. An understanding of different paradigms leads to a better understanding of the multifaceted nature of the phenomenon.

References Abrahamian, Ervand, 1982, “‘Ali Shari’ati’: Ideologue of the Iranian Revolution,” MEIRP Reports, No. 12, Islam and Politics, January, 24–28. Abrahamian, Ervand, 1989, The Iranian Mojahedin, New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press. Abrahamian, Ervand, 1993, Khomeinism: Essays on the Islamic Republic, Berkeley, California: University of California Press.



Akhavi, Shahrough, 1980, Religion and Politics in Contemporary Iran, Albany, New York: State University of New York Press. Algar, Hamid, 2001, Roots of the Islamic Revolution, Oneonta, New York: Islamic Publications International. Algar, Hamid, 2013, Islamic Government: Governance of the Jurist, The Institute for Compilation and Publication of Imam Khomeini’s Works, CeateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. Barber, Benjamin R., 1995, Jihad vs. McWorld, New York, New York: Times Books. Bayat-Philipp, Mangol, 1979, “Shi’ism in Contemporary Iranian Politics: The Case of Ali Shari’ati,” in Kedourie, Elie and Haim, Sylvia G., (eds.), Toward a Modern Iran: Studies in Thought, Politics and Society, London, England: Frank Cass and Company Limited, Chapter 7, pp. 155–168. Bayat-Philipp, Mangol, 1981, “Tradition and Change in Iranian Socio-Religious Thought,” in Bonine, Michael E. and Keddie, Nikki R., (eds.), Continuity and Change in Modern Iran, Albany, New York: State University of New York Press, Chapter 2, pp. 35–56. Bazargan, Mehdi, 1951, “The Causes of the Decline and Decadence of Islamic Nations,” Islamic Review, 34:6, June, 8–12. Bazargan, Mehdi, 1971, Modafe’at dar Dadgah-e Gheir-e Saleh-e Tajdid-e Nazar-e Nezami, Tehran, Iran: Entesharat-e Modarres. Bazargan, Mehdi, 1976, Marz-e Mian-e Din va Omur-e Ejtema’i, Houston, Texas: Book Distribution Center. Bazargan, Mehdi, 1977, Rah-e Teyy Shodeh, Houston, Texas: Book Distribution Center. Bazargan, Mehdi, 1983a, Bazyabi-ye Arzeshha, Tehran, Iran: Entesharat-e Modarres. Bazargan, Mehdi, 1983b, Gomrahan, Tehran, Iran: Entesharat-e Modarres. Chehabi, H.E., 1985, “Society and State in Islamic Liberalism,” State, Culture and Society: An International Journal of the Social, Cultural, and Political Science, 1:3, spring, 85–101. Dabashi, Hamid, 2006, Theology of Discontent: The Ideological Foundations of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers. Floor, Willem M., 1980, “The Revolutionary Character of the Iranian Ulama: Wishful Thinking or Reality?,” International Journal of Middle East Studies, 12:4, December, 501–524. Griffith, William E., 1979, “The Revival of Islamic Fundamentalism: The Case of Iran,” International Security, 4:1, summer, 132–138. Hooglund, Eric and Royce, William, 1985, “The Shi’i Clergy of Iran and the Conception of an Islamic State,” State, Culture and Society: An International Journal of the Social, Cultural, and Political Science, 1:3, spring, 102–117. Keddie, Nikki R., 1981, Roots of Revolution: An Interpretive History of Modern Iran, New Haven: Connecticut: Yale University Press. Keddie, Nikki R., 1983, (ed.), Religion and Politics in Iran: Shi’ism from Quietism to Revolution, New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press. Keddie, Nikki R., 2003, Modern Iran: Roots and Results of Revolution, New Haven: Connecticut: Yale University Press. Kedourie, Elie, 1980, “Khomeini’s Political Heresy,” Policy Review, 12:5, Spring, 133–146. Khomeini, Ruh Allah, 1981, Islam and Revolution: Writings and Declarations of Imam Khomeini, Berkeley, California: Mizan Press. Moaddel, Mansoor, 1993, Class, Politics, and Ideology in the Iranian Revolution, New  York, New York: Columbia University Press. Moaddel, Mansoor, 2005, Islamic Modernism, Nationalism, and Fundamentalism: Episode and Discourse, Chicago, Illinoi: University of Chicago Press. Momen, M., 1989, “Authority and Opposition in Twelve Shi’ism,” in Burrell, R.M, (ed.), Islamic Fundamentalism, London, England: Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, pp. 48–66. Rajaee, Farhang, 1983, Islamic Values and World View: Khomeini on Man, the State and International Politics, Volume III, Lanham, Maryland: University Press of America, Inc.


7  Ideology of Iranian Revolution: Four Paradigmatic Views

Riesebrodt, Martin, 1993, Pious Passion: The Emergence of Modern Fundamentalism in the United States and Iran, Berkeley, California: University of California Press. Rose, Gregory, 1983, “Velayat-e Faqih and the Recovery of Islamic Identity in the Thought of Ayatollah Khomeini,” in Keddie, Nikki R., (ed.), Religion and Politics in Iran: Shi’ism from Quietism to Revolution, New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, Chapter 9, pp. 166–190. Sadri, Mahmoud and Sadri, Ahmad, 1985, “The Mantle of the Prophet: A Critical Postscript,” State, Culture and Society: An International Journal of the Social, Cultural, and Political Science, 1:3, spring, 136–147. Shari’ati, Ali, 1979, On the Sociology of Islam, Berkeley, California: Mizan. Zonis, Marvin and Brumberg, Daniel, 1987, “Shi’ism as Interpreted by Khomeini: An Ideology of Revolutionary Violence,” in Kramer, Martin, (ed.), Shi’ism, Resistance, and Revolution, Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, Chapter 3, pp. 47–66. Zonis, Marvin and Offer, Daniel M.D., 1985, “The Psychology of Revolutionary Leadership: The Speeches of Ayatollah Khomeini,” Psychology Review, 13:2–3, winter, 5–17.

Chapter 8

Understanding Revolution: A Comprehensive Approach

The purpose of this chapter is to move toward a comprehensive understanding of revolution by transcending boundaries among academic disciplines as well as conceptual dichotomies such as objective-subjective, structure-agency, collective-­ individual, macro-micro, and conflict resolution-social revolution. This transcending move can be made through the application of the concepts of multi-dimensionality, continuum, and dialectics. The chapter shows that this comprehensive approach is advocated in the literature because it transcends both disciplinary boundaries and conceptual dichotomies encountered in the literature.

1  Introduction This chapter proposes that each individual’s life can be regarded as being multidimensional, where each dimension can be regarded as a continuum, each of which dialectically affects and is affected by the individual’s actions that dialectically affect and are affected by other individuals, collectivity of individuals, and the structure. This conflict-ridden process may be regulated to lead to conflict resolution, otherwise may lead to social revolution. This chapter is organized as follows. Section 2 shows that a comprehensive approach is advocated by an existing trend in the literature. Section 3 emphasizes the concept of continuum and illustrates two of its applications: (a) continuum of conflict and (b) continuum of revolution. Section 4 illustrates the dichotomies encountered in the literature. Section 5 emphasizes that a comprehensive approach should be multidimensional, multidisciplinary, and holistic. Section 6 brings out the core idea of a comprehensive approach to conflict and revolution. Section 7 shows that this comprehensive approach is consistent with alternative ways of dividing the literature. Section 8 shows that this comprehensive approach is consistent with alternative theories of the causes of revolution. Section 9 shows that this © The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020 K. Ardalan, Understanding Revolution, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-47591-8_8



8  Understanding Revolution: A Comprehensive Approach

c­omprehensive approach is consistent with alternative theories of the course of ­revolution. Section 10 shows that this comprehensive approach is consistent with alternative theories of the consequences of revolution. Section 11 is the conclusion.

2  D  esirability of a Comprehensive Approach to Conflict and Revolution This section shows that a comprehensive approach to conflict and revolution is advocated by an existing trend in the literature on conflict and revolution. In the following, this trend in the literature is shown by a series of excerpts from the literature. The Editorial Section of the first issue of the Journal of Conflict Resolution advocated a comprehensive theory. The argument was based on the idea that intellectual progress in the study of conflict must be made through an interdisciplinary approach, by drawing on all the social sciences. This is because “. . . behavior and interactions . . . are not an isolated and self-contained area of empirical material, but part of a much wider field of behavior and interaction . . .” (Editorial 1957, pp. 1–2). Conflict is studied in various fields: sociology, psychology, psychiatry, economics, and political science. Conflict occurs in various contexts: within a single mind, between individuals, among members of a family, between labor and management, between political parties, within a nation, and among nations. Conflicts that occur in various areas share similar patterns and processes, which can be captured by a general theory. Such general theory would provide greater knowledge and greater power in all conflict-ridden situations. Eckstein (1965) notes that a comprehensive theory takes into account special ones. A comprehensive theory introduces some order into the chaos that studies of revolution present. In order to gain understanding of the forces impelling societies toward revolution, scholars should direct their efforts to “. . . the analysis of their preconditions, stressing disorientative general social processes . . .” (Eckstein 1965, p. 153). Eckstein (1965) defines “internal war” as “. . . any resort to violence within a political order to change its constitution, rulers, or policies.” He explains that “internal war” stands for the genus whose species are: “. . . revolution, civil war, revolt, rebellion, uprising, guerrilla warfare, mutiny, jacquerie, coup d’etat, terrorism, or insurrection.” He emphasizes that “. . . all cases of internal war do have common features, however much they differ in detail” (Eckstein 1965, p. 133). He concludes that if scholars, at the main stage of their inquiry, treat internal wars as one unit and, later, introduce distinctions only when they become necessary or advisable, then “. . . the possibilities of developing general theories are increased, as is the likelihood that the distinctions made will be important and precise” (Eckstein 1965, p. 136). Fink (1968) also advocates a multidisciplinary and comprehensive approach. He advocates a multidisciplinary approach because “. . . no existing social science discipline, by itself, contains sufficient intellectual resources to achieve an adequate theory of . . . conflict.” He advocates a comprehensive approach because “. . . even

2 Desirability of a Comprehensive Approach to Conflict and Revolution


if it is multidisciplinary, direct study of a given kind of conflict (e.g., international conflict) cannot, by itself, provide sufficient information on which to build an adequate theory covering that class of phenomena.” A comprehensive theory gains its scientific value by providing “. . . greater understanding of each particular kind of conflict than can be provided by the relevant special theory” and therefore “to provide a better account of the entire domain of conflict phenomena than could be provided by the total set of special theories.” A comprehensive theory of conflict is desirable because “. . . theory is the principal means of integrating scientific knowledge . . .” (Fink 1968, pp. 412–413). Gurr (1973) discusses alternative approaches to theory construction and adds that “. . . much more could be said about the problem of how to tidy up an intellectual landscape littered with partial theories” (Gurr 1973, p. 379). Zagorin (1973) notes that a theory of revolution is expected to explain the causes, processes, and effects of revolutions. However, despite the theories which have been advanced within the social sciences, “. . . nothing has appeared that qualifies as a general theory of revolution. . . . Furthermore, . . . there has been little progressive accumulation of ideas” (Zagorin 1973, p. 29). Goldstone (1982) likens the study of revolutions to the study of earthquakes. After an earthquake occurs, scholars use the myriad of data that have been collected to build theories in order to account for the occurrence of the next one. Over time, scholars gain a better understanding of the way earthquakes occur, but the occurrence of the next earthquake still surprises them. He concludes that “Our knowledge of revolutions, like that of earthquakes, is still limited” (Goldstone 1982, p. 205). Goldstone (1994), in the preface to his book, notes that in order to understand modern revolutions, scholars used to look primarily to models of revolution based on the great revolutions of France in 1789, Russia in 1917, and China in 1949. Although these historical examples are still valuable, their focus is on the weaknesses of traditional states and the uprising of peasants. He states that “Modern revolutions have occurred in states that have begun industrialization and that have relatively modern bureaucracies and party apparatuses. They have been brought about primarily by urban, rather than rural, revolts.” And he concludes that “As the world changes, so must our tools for teaching and understanding change with it” (Goldstone 1994, Preface). Eckstein (1980) notes that all concrete events, physical and social, result from the confluence of numerous positive and inhibiting factors. Different scholars have come up with complex balances of different sets of factors. He proposes an eclectic model of causes of internal wars, which is the outcome of a number of choices made between: 1 . ‘preconditions’ or ‘precipitants’ – more remote or more proximate causes 2. ‘incumbents’ or ‘insurgents’ 3. ‘structural’ or ‘behavioral’ (cultural, attitudinal, psychological) factors 4. ‘specific occurrences’ (say, economic depressions) or ‘general processes’ (long-run patterns that may occur in numerous theoretically equivalent forms) 5. ‘obstacles’ to collective political violence or ‘positive’ factors that make for internal-war potential (Eckstein 1980, pp. 136–137)


8  Understanding Revolution: A Comprehensive Approach

Goldstone (1980), in his review of literature, divides the work of American social scientists in the explanation of the nature and origins of revolutions into three distinct phases, or “generations.” The first generation, who produced their work roughly between 1900 and 1940, detected the processes that revolutions went through, but they did not have a broad theoretical perspective. The second generation, who produced their work between 1940 and 1975, based their work on broad theories from psychology (cognitive psychology and frustration­aggression theory), sociology (structural-functionalist theory), and political science (the pluralist theory of interest group competition). Their analyses formed a fairly sophisticated body of theory. The third generation, who produced their work after 1975, had a general approach that differed in two major respects from that of previous theorists: (1) their analyses are based on a detailed examination of a greater variety of revolutions and (2) “they are more holistic, seeking not only to explain why revolutions occur, but also to account for their diverse outcomes” (Goldstone 1980, pp. 425–426). Foran (1993) continues the literature review provided by Goldstone (1980) and notes that the fourth generation who have produced their work since the 1980s, have shown interest in “interrelated areas of agency, social structural considerations, and the roles played by culture and ideology in revolutions” (Foran 1993, p. 6). Foran (1997a) recommends that the next generation of scholars find new syntheses of the various contending approaches to revolution. By doing so, they will realize and extend a project identified by many of the current generation of scholars. It is, he reiterates, “. . . a call for synthesis, or at least a challenge for more sophisticated integration of diverse analytic elements” (Foran 1997a, b, p. 6). In this section, it was shown that a comprehensive approach to conflict and revolution is advocated by an existing trend in the literature on conflict and revolution. The comprehensive approach, which is discussed in this chapter, is “comprehensive” in the sense that it is consistent, as will be shown, with various theoretical and practical explanations of revolutions.

3  Continuum and Its Applications This section emphasizes the concept of continuum and illustrates two of its applications. Subsection 3.1 illustrates the continuum of conflict, and Subsection 3.2 illustrates the continuum of revolution. This section emphasizes that it is advantageous to view phenomena as continua, rather than as dichotomies. That is, it is advantageous to recognize that between the two colors of black and white, there are various shades of gray. Applications of this metaphorical concept enhance the understanding of worldly phenomena, two of which are provided in the following.

3 Continuum and Its Applications


3.1  Continuum of Conflict This subsection illustrates a continuum where conflict resolution and social revolution are its two extreme poles. More specifically, the phenomenon of conflict can be viewed as a continuum where various forms of conflict would be located on different points on this continuum depending on the degree of intensity of the conflict. A typical form of conflict, which is located in between the two extreme poles of this continuum, might be regulated toward conflict resolution, which is one extreme pole of this continuum, or might be intensified toward social revolution, which is the other extreme pole of this continuum. For instance, there are scholars who view revolution as one of the extreme poles of the continuum of conflict. In the following, this way of viewing revolution is shown by a series of excerpts from the literature. Boulding (1962) states that “. . . in order to develop a theoretical system adequate to deal with the problem of war and peace, it is necessary to cast the net wider and to study conflict as a general social process of which war is a special case” (Boulding, 1962, p. viii). W.E. Moore (1963) ranks several types of social events that disturb the formal structure of the state: “(1) ‘ordinary’ criminal action; (2) the ‘rebellion;’ (3) the coup d’etat; and (4) the ‘revolution.’” He emphasizes that “Of the various forms of ‘internal war,’ revolutions constitute the greatest challenge to the principles of social change” (W.E. Moore 1963, pp. 81–82). Willer and Zollschan (1964) suggest that with a more adequate theory of group conflict “greater candlepower may be deployed to illuminate revolutions which, of course, become special cases of the general theory of conflict” (Willer and Zollschan 1964, 130). Fink (1968) in his discussion of the realm of conflict refers to Dahrendorf (1959) who considers the term “conflict” to mean contests, competitions, disputes, and tensions as well as manifest clashes between social forces. Relations of social conflict are those relations between sets of individuals that reflect an incompatible difference of objective. The concept of conflict includes both the psychological patterns – called “latent conflict” and interaction patterns – called “overt conflict” or “manifest conflict.” Fink (1968) continues to provide the following quote from Dahrendor (1959): “Conflict may assume the form of civil war, or of parliamentary debate, of a strike, or of a well-regulated negotiation” (Dahrendorf 1959, p. 135), (Fink 1968, pp. 431–432). Gurr (1970) states that “The properties and processes that distinguish a riot from a revolution are substantively and theoretically interesting . . ., but at a general level of analysis they seem to be differences of degree, not kind” (Gurr 1970, p. 5). Zagorin (1973) informs that Huntington (1968) in his discussion of revolution stated that “Revolution . . . is the extreme case of the explosion of political participation” (Huntington 1968, p.266), (Zagorin 1973, p. 24). Gurr (1973) notes that numerous theories are concerned with the origins, processes, and melioration of group conflict, but few are concerned with violent, revolutionary conflict. Those theories that, he adds, “account for conflict g­ enerally, they may be said to account for its violent manifestations as well; . . .” (Gurr 1973, p. 374).


8  Understanding Revolution: A Comprehensive Approach

Cohan (1975) notes that W.E. Moore (1963, p. 81) “has constructed a continuum of social change on which revolution is placed at one end” (Cohan 1975, p. 19). Cohan also notes that Johnson (1966, p. 7) has placed “revolution is at the end of a continuum of social change, and it is also possible to place it on a continuum of violent behavior” (Cohan 1975, p. 27). Cohan defines revolution as a process which results in a radical alteration of a particular society. He then specifies that “Such alteration would include (a) a change in the class composition of the elites, (b) the elimination of previous political institutions and their replacement by others (or by none), or an alteration of the functions of these institutions, and (c) changes in the social structure which would be reflected in the class arrangements and/or the redistribution of resources and income.” And emphasizes that “The magnitude of the revolution may be measured by the extent to which changes have occurred in any of the above dimensions or in some combination of them” (Cohan 1975, p. 31). Aya (1979) starts with Huntington’s (1968) widely recognized definition of revolution, which is a “rapid, fundamental, and violent domestic change in the dominant values and myths of a society, in its political institutions, social structure, leadership, and government activity and policies” (Huntington 1968, p.  264). He then elaborates on the definition and notes that the definition distinguishes revolutions from conflicts “of lesser gravity: ‘insurrections, rebellions, revolts,’ which do not inaugurate fundamental social changes; coups d’etat which revise only the membership rosters of ruling juntas; and wars of national independence . . . which fail to force changes in the basic structure of social relationships” (Aya 1979, p. 47). Goldstone (1980) informs that “Revolution was treated (by second generation of theorists of revolution) as the ‘ultimate’ political conflict” (Goldstone 1980, p. 429). Eckstein (1980) bases his discussion of revolution on two conceptual definitions. The first one is: “collective political violence involves destructive attacks by groups within a political community against its regime, authorities, or policies (derived from Gurr 1970, pp.  3–4).” And the second one is: “revolutions are the extreme cases of collective political violence, in regard to (a) their magnitude (scope, intensity), (b) targets (the political community or ‘regime’), (c) goals (degree and rapidity of change desired), and (d) the extent to which there is conflict between elites and counter-elites” (Eckstein 1980, p. 137). This subsection started with the idea of a continuum where conflict resolution and social revolution are its two extreme poles. It illustrated that scholars agree that revolution can be viewed as one of the extreme poles of the continuum of conflict.

3.2  Continuum of Revolution This subsection illustrates that various definitions of revolution can form a continuum. This continuum will be a subset of the continuum of conflict, which was discussed in Subsection 3.2 above. More specifically, the continuum of revolution is that subset of the continuum of conflict resolution-social revolution that constitutes the range at the social revolution pole to the continuum.

3 Continuum and Its Applications


This subsection is organized as follows. Subsection 3.2.1 reviews various d­ efinitions of revolution. Subsection 3.2.1 notes that there is no agreement among scholars on the definition of revolution. Subsection 3.2.3 proposes that the disagreement among scholars can be resolved if the phenomenon of revolution is viewed as a continuum, such that each definition of revolution occupies a specific point on this continuum. 3.2.1  Various Definitions of Revolution This subsection reviews various definitions of revolution. In the following, the definitions of revolutions are shown by a series of excerpts from the literature. Willer and Zollschan (1964) appreciate the definition of “revolution” as is succinctly defined in the Oxford English Dictionary (1961) as follows: “A complete overthrow of the established government in any country or state by those who were previously subject to it; a forcible substitution of a new ruler or form of government” (Willer and Zollschan 1964, p. 127). They late add that “We shall concentrate on those species of revolutions which have a fundamental impact on the structure of government and the society as a whole” (Willer and Zollschan 1964, p. 127). Stone (1966) in his discussion of the definition of revolution, with reference to Earle’s (1943) quotation of Clausewitz’s (1908) definition of external war, notes that such definition is equally applicable to internal war, civil war, or revolution: “War is not only a political act, but a real political instrument; a continuation of political transactions, an accomplishment of them by different means. That which remains peculiar to war relates only to the peculiar nature of its means” (Earle 1943, pp. 104–105) (Stone 1966, p. 161). Kraminick (1972) informs that Amman (1962) defines revolution “. . . by the breakdown of a state or central government’s monopoly of power, and the establishment of counter claims to power” (Kraminick 1972, p. 36). Zagorin (1973), in his discussion of the definitions of revolution, notes that Eckstein (1965) substitutes for “revolution” the term “internal war,” defined as “. . . any resort to violence within a political order to change its constitution, rulers, or policies” (Eckstein 1965, p. 133) (Zagorin 1973, p. 27). Zagorin (1973) also notes that Marxists and some non-Marxist define revolution as the “. . . movements with goals involving far-reaching changes in social structure, class domination, institutions, and ideology. . . . In effect, it accepts only the greatest revolutions as revolutions” (Zagorin 1973, p. 27). Zagorin (1973) further notes that Johnson (1964, 1966) conceives a revolution as “. . . violence directed toward one or more of the following goals: a change of government (personnel and leadership), of regime (form of government and distribution of political power), or of society (social structure, system of property control and class domination, dominant values, and the like)” (Zagorin 1973, p. 28). Zagorin (1973) furthermore notes that according to Barrington Moore (1966), revolution is “. . . placed within the historical process as a decisive point of conflict having significant systemic consequences” (Zagorin 1973, p. 40).


8  Understanding Revolution: A Comprehensive Approach

Gurr (1973) defines revolution as “. . . a species of abrupt change” (Gurr 1973, p. 361). He informs that “revolution” is defined differently based on different theoretical views, as follows: (a) A motive or objective of a group of people: “Individuals, groups, and organizations are said to be ‘revolutionary’ if they are (thought to be) committed to accomplishing sweeping, fundamental changes” (Gurr 1973, p. 361). (b) A style or form of action: “Concerted action aimed at transforming a social system or overthrowing a regime is sometimes called ‘revolution,’ without reference to its impact or outcome” (Gurr 1973, p. 361). (c) An outcome of action: “The immediate outcome of violent conflict is sometimes the criterion for ‘revolution.’ If the ‘outs’ succeed in displacing the ‘ins,’ a revolution has occurred; otherwise, the actions of the would-be revolutionaries are described as a ‘rebellion,’ ‘uprising,’ ‘putsch,’ or some such term” (Gurr 1973, p. 361). (d) Changes contingent upon action: “Seizure of power may be distinguished from the subsequent attempt to achieve revolutionary goals; ‘revolution’ is regarded as the struggle toward or the attainment of those goals” (Gurr 1973, p. 362). Gurr (1973) adds that “. . . the revolutionary motive is to change fundamentally the patterns of authority, that is, to change the basic institutions and procedures of society. Its satisfaction usually requires a substantial change in the values of society, a change in the operating norms of institutional life, and replacement of the elites who manage institutions” (Gurr 1973, p. 384). Aya (1979) informs that Lasch (1971) has defined revolution as “. . . an attempt . . . to seize state power on the part of political forces avowedly opposed not merely to the existing regime but to the existing social order as a whole” (Lasch 1971, p. 319) (Aya 1979, p. 43). Aya (1979) also informs that Huntington (1968) has defined revolution as a “. . . rapid, fundamental, and violent domestic change in the dominant values and myths of a society, in its political institutions, social structure, leadership, and government activity and policies” (Huntington 1968, p. 264) (Aya 1979, p. 47). Eckstein (1980) provides the following definitional notions: “(1) Collective political violence involves destructive attacks by groups within a political community against its regime, authorities, or policies (derived from Gurr 1970, pp. 3–4). (2) Revolutions are the extreme cases of collective political violence, in regard to (a) their magnitude (scope, intensity), (b) targets (the political community or ‘regime’), (c) goals (degree and rapidity of change desired), and (d) the extent to which there is conflict between elites and counter-elites” (Eckstein 1980, p. 137). Goldstone (1982) informs that “. . . one group of theorists, the natural-history school, defined revolution narrowly. They examined only the great revolutions . . .” (Goldstone 1982, p.  189). “. . . later theorists . . . the . . . general-theory school sought to include revolutions within the framework of more common events. Grouping great revolutions with peasant revolts, riots, unsuccessful revolutions, and sometimes civil wars, . . .” (Goldstone 1982, p. 189). “. . . a third generation of theorists, the structural-theory school, has sought to avoid either too narrow or too broad

3 Continuum and Its Applications


a definition. They have insisted that although the various forms of collective political violence are in some sense similar, they are still different kinds of events, and develop from quite different circumstances. Thus they have separated these events into distinct clusters – successful revolutions, unsuccessful revolutions, revolutionary coups, etc.” (Goldstone 1982, p. 189). Roxborough (1989) defines a revolution “. . . as a violent overthrow of a state resulting in a transformation of the central coercive institutions of the state (i.e. the armed forces)” (Roxborough 1989, p. 99). Foran (1993) informs that Skocpol (1979) provides the following definition: “Social revolutions are rapid, basic transformations of a society’s state and class structures; and they are accompanied and in part carried through by class-based revolts from below” (Skocpol 1979, p. 4) (Foran 1993, p. 3). Foran (1993) further informs that Skocpol (1982) revises her definition of social revolutions as “. . . rapid, basic transformations of a country’s state and class structure, and of its dominant ideology” (Skocpol 1982, p. 265) (Foran 1993, p.10). Sanderson (2005), in his discussion of the definitions of revolution, notes that Wilbert Moore (1963) defines revolution “. . . as a form of change that involves violence, that engages a large portion of the population, and that produces a transformation of the overall structure of government” (Sanderson 2005, p. 1). Sanderson (2005) also notes that Dunn (1972) defines revolution “. . . as a form of change that is massive, violent, and rapid” (Sanderson 2005, p. 1). Sanderson (2005) furthermore notes that Goldstone (1991) prefers to use the alternative concept of “state breakdown.” He defines a state breakdown as a society’s government undergoes a severe crisis such that its capacity to govern is severely crippled. Only some state breakdowns lead to revolutions, which are fundamental transformations of social and political institutions. Many state breakdowns result in limited social and political changes, which are not fundamental enough to be regarded as revolutions. “Indeed, Goldstone uses the concept of state breakdown in preference to that of revolution because his interest in political crisis and change is broader than that indicated by the term revolution” (Sanderson 2005, p. 2). Sanderson (2005) in addition, notes that Tilly (1978, 1986, and 1993) is even more general than Goldstone (1991) and uses the term “collective action” to identify a wide variety of sociopolitical conflict. “These include not only revolutions and rebellions but also strikes, revolts, civil wars, and the like. At the level of explanation, Tilly has formulated an overall theory quite abstract by design, that is intended to apply to all of these conflictive phenomena” (Sanderson 2005, pp. 2–3). Cohan (1975), based on various approaches to the subject, specifies various aspects of revolutionary change, as follows: 1 . The alteration of values or the myths of the society 2. The alteration of the social structure 3. The alteration of institutions 4. Changes in the leadership formation, either in the personnel of the elite or its class composition 5. Non-legal or illegal transfer of power


8  Understanding Revolution: A Comprehensive Approach

6. The presence dominance of violent behavior made evident in the events leading to the regime collapse (Cohan 1975, p. 31).

Cohan (1975) notes that these aspects of revolution “. . . indicate that there is some agreement among many of the scholars, but not each theorist in the ‘great revolutions’ school would agree with all of the dimensions of revolutionary change. A few definitions would include all of the dimensions, but most would include only a few” (Cohan 1975, p. 14). 3.2.2  There Is No Agreement on the Definition of Revolution This subsection notes that there is no agreement among scholars on the definition of revolution. This is shown by a series of excerpts from the literature. Kraminick (1972), in his discussion of the definition of revolution, notes that “. . . students of revolution have a . . . difficult time in . . . defining the phenomenon of revolution” (Kraminick 1972, p. 26). Zagorin (1973), in his discussion of the definitions of revolution, notes that “Even elementary questions of definition, . . ., are still not settled” (Zagorin 1973, p. 29). Cohan (1975), in his discussion of the definition of revolution, notes that “. . . the theorists who have considered the phenomenon of revolution have differed about what revolutions are, . . .” (Cohan 1975, p. 1). And he adds that “. . . the usage of the term is varied enough to have provided very different meanings in each of the many works”. (Cohan 1975, p.  8). He further adds that “Crane Brinton began his own book with the thought that ‘revolution is one of the looser words’” (Cohan 1975, p. 9). He concludes that “. . . among social theorists and social scientists no universally satisfactory conceptual definition has been agreed upon” (Cohan 1975, p. 9). Salert (1976) informs that from any overall survey of the literature on revolutions, one can immediately glean that there is no consensus on a single definition of “revolution” (Salert 1976, p. 5). Goldstone (1980) points out that “. . . theorists are sharply divided on the issue of which instances of social transformation are in fact revolutions. Skocpol (1979) lists the Chinese, French, Russian, and Mexican Revolutions. Eisenstadt (1978), however, does not consider the Mexican Revolution to be a ‘true’ revolution in the same sense as the French, Russian, and Chinese. . . .” (Goldstone 1980, p. 450). “Trimberger (1978) regards both the Japanese Meiji Restoration and the Turkish Revolution as ‘revolutions from above,’ to be differentiated from the French, Russian, and Chinese ‘revolutions from below.’ Yet Eisenstadt (1978) views the Turkish Revolution as essentially akin to the French, Russian, and Chinese, while he considers the Meiji Restoration to be an instance of non-revolutionary change” (Goldstone 1980, p. 450).

3 Continuum and Its Applications


3.2.3  Solving the Disagreement by the Continuum of Revolution This subsection proposes that the disagreement among scholars can be resolved if the phenomenon of revolution is viewed as a continuum, such that each definition of revolution occupies a specific point on this continuum. This is shown by a series of excerpts from the literature. Boulding (1962) insists that “. . . in order to develop a theoretical system adequate to deal with the problem of war and peace, it is necessary to cast the net wider and to study conflict as a general social process of which war is a special case” (Boulding 1962, p. viii). Eckstein (1965) defines “internal war” as “. . . any resort to violence within a political order to change its constitution, rulers, or policies.” (Eckstein 1965, p. 133). It includes revolution, civil war, revolt, rebellion, uprising, guerrilla warfare, mutiny, jacquerie, coup d’etat, terrorism, and insurrection. “Most obviously, all cases of internal war do have common features, however much they differ in detail” (Eckstein 1965, p. 133). Therefore, it would be beneficial “. . . to consider internal wars as all of a piece at the beginning of inquiry and to introduce distinctions only as they become necessary or advisable. In this way, the possibilities of developing general theories are increased, as is the likelihood that the distinctions made will be important and precise” (Eckstein 1965, p. 136). Eckstein (1965) informs that Lasswell and Kaplan (1950) divide revolutions into palace revolutions, political revolutions, and social revolutions. They define palace revolutions as changes in rulers not based on the “political formulas” of governments (i.e., their formal constitutions), which are usually effected by some members of the ruling group, and which rarely lead to important changes in policy. “Political revolutions are changes in ‘authority structures’ (formal power structures); and social revolutions changes in the overall ‘control structures’ (effective power structures) of society, usually effected by men not already in ruling positions” (Lasswell and Kaplan 1950, pp. 261–268) (Eckstein 1965, p. 135). Fink (1968), in making a case for a broad conception of social conflict, supports Dahrendorf (1959) who regards the term “conflict” to include contests, competitions, disputes, and tensions as well as manifest clashes between social forces. “Conflict may assume the form of civil war, or of parliamentary debate, of a strike, or of a well-regulated negotiation” (Dahrendorf 1959, p.  135) (Fink 1968, pp. 431–432). “Therefore, . . . I would argue that the aim of developing a general theory of social conflict can best be pursued if we adopt the broadest possible working definition of social conflict” (Fink 1968, p. 455). Gurr (1973) informs that “revolution” is defined differently based on different theoretical views. He emphasizes that “All of these usages seem to me to have some validity, or at least sufficient currency that it is foolish to say that one of these things is ‘revolution’ and another is not” (Gurr 1973, p. 362). Salert (1976) finds out from reviewing the literature on revolution that scholars do not adhere to a single definition of revolution. “This means that general theories of revolution may not be at all comparable since . . . an event constituting a r­ evolution


8  Understanding Revolution: A Comprehensive Approach

in one theory may not be considered revolutionary in others” (Salert 1976, p. 5). However, to resolve the confusion over the meaning of revolution “The theorist needs only choose his preferred definition and proceed with the task of analyzing the nature of those events denoted by the term” (Salert 1976, p. 7). Sanderson (2005) appreciates Skocpol (1979) who distinguishes between social revolutions, political revolutions, and rebellions. Skocpol (1979) defines social revolutions as “rapid, basic transformations of a society’s state and class structures; and they are accompanied and in part carried through by class-based revolts from below.” “Political revolutions, by contrast, involve the transformation of state structures without any corresponding transformation of class or social structures. Rebellions occur when subordinate social classes revolt but no fundamental structural change in society or politics occurs” (Skocpol 1979, p.  4) (Sanderson 2005, p. 2). This subsection started with a review of various definitions of revolution. Then, it noted that there is no agreement among scholars on the definition of revolution. At the end, it proposed that the disagreement among scholars can be resolved if the phenomenon of revolution is viewed as a continuum, such that each definition of revolution occupies a specific point on this continuum. It used the extant literature to support its proposal.

4  Conceptual Dichotomies Encountered in the Literature This section illustrates the conceptual dichotomies encountered in the literature. These conceptual dichotomies include objective-subjective, structure-agency, collective-­individual, and macro-micro. In the following, this is shown by a series of excerpts from the literature. At the end of this section, it is proposed that such dichotomies can be resolved by the applications of the method of dialectics. Eckstein (1965) distinguishes between two ways of constructing an etiology of internal wars: (1) structural hypothesis and (2) behavioral hypothesis. A structural hypothesis considers “objective” social conditions as the underlying forces for the occurrence of internal war. These “objective” social conditions are aspects of a society’s “setting,” such as economic conditions, social stratification, and mobility, as well as geographic and demographic factors. A behavioral hypothesis considers attitudes and their formation as the underlying forces for the occurrence of internal war. These attitudes are referred to as “orientations” and include characteristics such as degrees of strain and anomie in societies, the processes by which tension and aggression are generated, and the processes by which human beings are “socialized” into their communities. Most of existing propositions regarding the causes of internal war are structural in character. Eckstein (1965) continues with his distinction of the two approaches. The behavioral approach regards most human action as being motivated, not reflexive, and therefore wants to know about attitudes underlying humans’ actions. The structural approach regards most human action as being formed in response to external

4 Conceptual Dichotomies Encountered in the Literature


c­onditions. Behavioral approaches stress, for instance, “intellectual” factors, ­voluntaristic factors, and indoctrination. Structural approaches stress, for instance, mechanical imbalance in society, and specific situational conditions, while treating attitudes as mechanical responses to such conditions. Eckstein (1965) further elaborates on the behavioral approach. According to the behavioral approach, while patterns of attitudes are to some extent responsive to objective condition, they are also to some extent autonomous of objective conditions. In other words, patterns of attitudes can survive changes in objective conditions or they can change independently of changes in objective conditions. This is closely related to the relatively successful use of mediational models, rather than simple S-R (stimulus-response) models, in behavioral psychology. Eckstein (1965) continues with the elaboration on the behavioral approach. According to the behavioral approach, many different objective social conditions are capable of generating internal wars. For instance, in the immediate prerevolutionary period, some regimes have been more oppressive, some more liberal, some both, and some neither. This means that in seeking explanations of the occurrence of internal wars in specific social conditions, emphasis should be placed on the ways in which such social conditions are perceived. That is, in connecting social conditions to internal war, emphasis should be placed on the intermediary step called perception. This is because when existing cognitive and value systems change, social conditions which are perceived as tolerable at one point are perceived as intolerable at another. Furthermore, when old systems of orientation are maintained rather than adapted in the face of social change, such social change creates profound difficulties in the former, but no trouble in the latter. Eckstein (1965) continues the discussion of the behavioral approach. In relating objective conditions to internal war, orientations mediate. Orientations are not simply mirrors of environment; accordingly, different objective conditions may lead to similar political activities, or similar objective conditions may lead to different political activities. According to behavioral approach, aspects of social setting should not be directly linked to internal war or should not be mechanically linked to orientations. Eckstein (1965), in the explanation of the behavioral approach, adds that “Internal wars are best conceived as responses to political disorientation (such as ‘cognitive dissonance,’ anomie, and strains in the definition of political roles), particularly in regard to a society’s norms of legitimacy; and political disorientation may follow from a considerable variety of conditions, due to the variable nature of the orientations themselves and of the agencies that implant them in different societies” (Eckstein 1965, pp. 148–150). Eckstein (1965) further adds that “Internal wars, after all, are not made by impersonal forces working in impersonal ways, but by men acting under the stress of external forces” (Eckstein 1965, p. 154). Eckstein (1965) then relates his distinction of behavioral and structural approaches to the following two approaches of analysis. One approach develops propositions based on particular social conditions, whereas the other approach develops propositions based on general characteristics of social processes. The former approach would relate internal war to particular socioeconomic changes, whereas the latter approach would relate internal war to the characteristics of the


8  Understanding Revolution: A Comprehensive Approach

general phenomenon of social change itself. This includes rapid change or erratic change in any sector of society and conditions that may result from any social change, such as imbalances between various segments of society (e.g., between elites of wealth and elites of status), or incongruities among the authority patterns of a society. In the end, a third approach that combines the two approaches would be better than each of the two separate approaches. This means that when, using the former approach, many particular social conditions are connected with internal wars; then, using the latter approach, broad propositions can be generated about social processes and balances that can comprehend a variety of such conditions. In theories of internal wars, when emphasis is placed on behavioral characteristics, then those characteristics need to be related to the social setting. For instance, while disorientation can be conceived, in large part, as a breakdown in mutualities and complementarities of behavior, there is overwhelming evidence that shows “anomie” – the feeling that one lacks guidelines to behavior – is increased by the speed of change in any direction (whether rapid economic improvement or rapid economic deterioration), and that “strain” – the feeling that one’s roles make inconsistent demands – is aggravated by uneven or incongruent changes in different sectors of society (e.g., when the economic sector becomes modern, while the political sector remains traditional). In this way, it is possible to “. . . be specific and informative about general social processes as well as about their substantive content” (Eckstein 1965, pp. 151–152). Stone (1966) also notes that structural models place too much emphasis on objective structural conditions and attempt to relate such conditions directly to action. History has shown that similar activities have risen from different conditions, and different activities have risen from similar conditions. According to the behavioral approach, between objective reality and human action, there lie subjective human attitudes. The behaviorist approach places equal emphasis on anomie, alienation of the intellectuals, frustrated popular aspirations, elite estrangement, and loss of elite self-confidence. Stone (1966) also notes that structural models do not pay attention to the operation of the unique and the personal. Structural models ignore the unpredictable role played by personal choice that is always left to the ruling elite and to the revolutionary leaders. According to the behavioral approach, revolution is never inevitable, in the way that modernization can take place in Morocco and India without revolution, similarly to the modernization and industrialization of Germany and Britain in the nineteenth century that took place without revolution. Stone (1966) adds that: “Some think that a potentially revolutionary situation in the United States in the 1930’s was avoided by political action” (Stone 1966, pp. 166–167). Wickham-Crowley (1997) notes that all structural analyses focus on the relationships among social units under consideration, rather than focusing on the characteristic traits of those social units. According to Wickham-Crowley (1997), structural theories of revolution have focused on “(1) unifying or solidarity-making processes which lead to enhanced abilities of people to act collectively; (2) conflicts, with special attention to conflicts (a) between classes, (b) between states, especially wars, and (c) between states and classes, especially over issues such as ­taxation/

4 Conceptual Dichotomies Encountered in the Literature


spending and access to political office; (3) processes of exploitation of labor in some of those conflicts, itself related to the distribution of property, especially landed property; (4) commercialization of economic activity, meaning the intrusion of market relationships into economies hitherto limited from such exposure; and (5) colonization, meaning the expansion of a state’s control to encompass a foreign population which is submitted to a form of political domination unlike that experienced in the home country” Wickham-Crowley (1997, p. 36–37). Wickham-Crowley (1997) further explains that: “Descending from the most macro to the more micro levels, we should at least specify: (1) world-systemic structures of international trade, finance, and investment; (2) patterns of interstate competition, conflict, domination, alliance, and cooperation; (3) state-class relations within individual nations, especially over issues such as taxation, governance, coercion, and access to state power; (4) patterns of class, ethnic, religious, and perhaps gender conflicts (or alliances); and (5) the relations of formal organizations, including social movement organizations, to the society, as mediated by social networks” (Wickham-Crowley 1997, p. 37). Wickham-Crowley (1997) further notes that there are large elements of historical contingency in actual human behavior and that extant theories of revolution emphasize structural patterns at the expense of contingent events and actions or vice versa. Wickham-Crowley (1997) adds that “Those theorists of revolution who focus on the social – as opposed to the cultural – in understanding revolutions in fact are distributed along a continuum, ranging from a greater emphasis on long-standing structural relations in human behavior, on the one hand, to a greater emphasis on shorter-term changes or contingencies in behavior, on the other, which we might well term ‘social action’ or ‘social agency’ (the two terms have the same Latin etymology)” (Wickham-Crowley 1997 p. 38). Wickham-Crowley (1997) further explains that a cultural approach to revolution differs from the social-structural approach. The classic social scientific view is that culture is a system of shared beliefs that guides human behavior. Wickham-Crowley (1997) explains that “Since these beliefs . . . are shared by members of social groups . . . cultural theories of social phenomena . . . focus upon the cultural characteristics of groups and subgroups themselves (not on intergroup relations as such) and the manner in which such traits can explain similarities and differences . . .” (Wickham-­ Crowley 1997, p. 39). Selbin (1997) notes that in the behavioral approach, central to the understanding and exploring revolutionary processes are symbolic politics, collective memory, and the social context of politics, which are all profoundly voluntaristic constructions. In the behavioral approach, the primary forces in revolutionary processes are ideas and actors, whereas in the structuralist approach, the primary forces in revolutionary processes are structures and some broad sweep of history. In the behavioral approach, revolutions are viewed as human creations, whereas in the structuralist approach, revolutions are viewed as inevitable natural processes. According to Selbin (1997), the behavioral approach focuses on “. . . people, not structures; choices, not determinism; and the transformation of society, not simply transitions” (Selbin 1997, p. 118).


8  Understanding Revolution: A Comprehensive Approach

Selbin (1997) further notes that in world history, both human action and structures have their place. Few scholars subscribe to one extreme (behavioral approach) or the other (structural approach) anymore in the debate over the relative role played by “individual and collective will” as opposed to “historical circumstances” in determining the outcome of a given event or process. A dialectical and interactive approach – by realizing the dialectical relationship between the two sets of factors – allows for the exploration and understanding of actors who are real men and women, in particular historical situations. For instance, whereas the behavioral approach views political, cultural, and subjective phenomena as shaping the material or economic base, and whereas the structural approach views political, cultural, and subjective phenomena as reflections of the material or economic base, the dialectical or interactive approach not only views political, cultural, and subjective phenomena as reflections of the material or economic base but also views political, cultural, and subjective phenomena as shaping the material or economic base. In addition, whereas the behavioral approach views human actors as generators of structures, and whereas the structural approach views human actors as carriers of structures, the behavioral approach not only views human actors as carriers of structures but also views human actors as generators of structures. The dialectical view makes it possible to construct sophisticated and substantively grounded theories that recognize both the power of people and the importance of structures. Structuralism and agency may each play a significant role as the scope for human action depends on historically specific conditions. People’s actions clearly confront certain limits which are set by structures, as structures often specify a certain range of possibilities. In this dialectical or interactive relationship, structures do not unconditionally dictate what people do. It is the interplay of circumstance and action – neither of which can exist without the other – that creates human history, where options are considered, choices are made, and paths are pursued. Selbin (1997) concludes that “Meaningful explorations and satisfactory answers lie with those theories which can take agents and structures, both with meaningful roles, into account” (Selbin 1997, p. 127). Foran (1993), in support of striking a balance between structure and agency, provides a quote from Marx, as follows: “Men [sic] make their own history, but they do not make it just as they please; they do not make it under circumstances chosen by themselves, but under circumstances directly encountered, given and transmitted from the past” (Marx 1977, p. 300), (Foran 1993, p. 6). Foran (1993), furthermore provides a quote from Trotsky, as follows: “The most indubitable feature of a revolution is the direct interference of the masses in historic events. . . . The dynamic of revolutionary events is directly determined by swift, intense, and passionate changes in the psychology of classes which have already formed themselves before the revolution.” On the other hand, “Entirely exceptional circumstances, independent of the will of persons or parties, are necessary in order to tear off from discontent the fetters of conservatism, and bring the masses to insurrection” (Trotsky 1930, 1959, pp. ix–x), (Foran 1993, p. 6). Salert (1976) notes that whereas micro theories rely on individual motivations to explain revolutions, macro theories rely on social conditions to explain revolutions.

5 A Multidimensional, Multidisciplinary, and Holistic Approach


Salert (1976) states; “Ideally, a theory of revolutions would analyze both motivational and structural factors affecting revolutions . . . such a theory could explain all aspects related to . . . revolutions” (Salert 1976, p. 75). This section illustrated conceptual dichotomies such as objective-subjective, structure-agency, collective-individual, and macro-micro. This section proposes that such dichotomies can be resolved by the applications of the method of dialectics. That is, the two aspects of any dichotomy can be viewed as having dialectical, i.e., mutual or interactive, relationship. In this way, both aspects of any dichotomy can be incorporated into a comprehensive approach to the understanding of revolution, which is the aim of this chapter. This chapter proposes that a comprehensive understanding of revolution should consider the behavior of individual to be the outcome of the dialectical relationships between the individual and all factors involved in human life, including dialectical relationships among dichotomies such as objective-subjective, structure-agency, collective-individual, and macro-micro. Among the components of such dialectical relationships are conflict and revolution. The comprehensive understanding of revolution, which is the subject of this chapter, is based on individual behavior which is affected by both behavioral and structural factors, and in turn, the individual behavior affects them. Indeed, the extant literature that uses the structural approach to explain conflict and revolution, does so by translating the changes in the social structure into changes in the social structural components and then by substituting each social structural component with a typical individual member of that social structural component, and accordingly explain the behavior of that social structural component in the same way that theories of individual behavior explain the behavior of an individual. In effect, both individual and structural models of conflict and revolution take effect through the explanation of changes in the behavior of individuals. A comprehensive understanding of revolution, which is the subject of this chapter, considers individual behavior in dialectical relationship with its social context, and therefore, allows for variation of behavior among the many individuals who constitute the human society. It is, therefore, consistent with both behavioral and structural theories of conflict and revolution.

5  A  Multidimensional, Multidisciplinary, and Holistic Approach This section emphasizes that a comprehensive approach to the understanding of conflict and revolution should be multidimensional, multidisciplinary, and holistic. This means that various aspects of individual and social life, as studied by various academic disciplines, should be considered simultaneously in a holistic fashion. In the following, the support for this idea is shown by a series of excerpts from the literature.


8  Understanding Revolution: A Comprehensive Approach

Eckstein (1965) emphasizes that, in general, multiple factors are thought to have caused any specific revolution. He notes that, for example, in the case of the French Revolution, almost anything in the French ancien regime has been singled out, by one writer or another, as the cause of revolution, and all of their interpretations, even if contradictory, are based on solid facts. These factors include various aspects of intellectual setting, economic conditions, social structure, political structure, etc. Eckstein (1965) continues with his argument and states that we can “. . . take other internal wars and arrive at the same result – similarly large lists of explanations, most of them factual, yet inconclusive” (Eckstein 1965, p. 140). Stone (1966) emphasizes multi-dimensionality of the study of revolution by stating that “. . . any means by which society exercises pressure or control, whether it is administrative organization, constitutional law, economic interest, or physical force, can be a fruitful field of study in its own right, so long as its students remain aware that they are looking at only one part of a larger whole” (Stone 1966, p. 161). Gurr (1973) states that human action is determined by multiple factors: “. . . (a) people’s values, i.e., their valued goods and conditions of life; (b) people’s norms about how those values are appropriately pursued; (c) the patterned forms of action – institutions – by which people organize or are organized for action; and (d) people’s situations, the circumstances – environment, resources, technology – that facilitate or hinder their pursuit of particular values” (Gurr 1973, p. 362). Zagorin (1973) appreciates interdisciplinary and holistic approach by stating that: “Social-science history . . . is mainly characterized . . ., by its effort at empirical rigor, by its use of theories, models, and ideal types, by its interest in comparative and interdisciplinary studies, and by the orientation of its research toward the understanding of whole societies. . . . most of the current efforts to gain a clearer understanding of revolution proceed from or are influenced by this approach” (Zagorin 1973, p. 35). Gurr (1980) advocates a multidisciplinary approach by stating: “. . . instrumental and expressive motivations both are present in virtually all conflict behavior, and that the volatile character of open conflict is partly a result of the unstable mix of these two kinds of motivations among participants and leaders” (Gurr 1980, p. 3). Roxborough (1989) stresses the lack of a holistic theory of revolution when he states: “ . . . revolutions are complex events and it is probably unreasonable to expect any single theory adequately to explain the origins of all revolutions. Moreover, most theories stress only a limited number of relevant factors and ought therefore, to be viewed largely as complementary” (Roxborough 1989, p. 102). Goldstone (1994) emphasizes that revolutions are too complex to be explained by one cause formula. This is why current theories of revolution examine multiple causes for the occurrence of revolutions. Goldstone (1994) notes that despite the fact that theories of revolution differ, their authors agree on a fundamental principle: “Explaining revolutions depends on understanding how multiple causes combine to create a situation in which states are weakened, and in which elites and popular groups have both the capacity and the motivation to revolt” (Goldstone 1994, p. 55). Foran (1997a) advocates interdisciplinary study of revolution by referring to “. . . the fruitful crossing and blurring of the boundaries and disciplines, including

6 A Comprehensive Understanding of Revolution


s­ociology, history, politics, ethnic studies, gender studies, cultural studies, and demography which the study of revolutions encourages” (Foran 1997a, p. iii). This section emphasized that a comprehensive approach to the understanding of conflict and revolution should be multidimensional, multidisciplinary, and holistic. That is, various aspects of individual and social life, as studied by various academic disciplines, should be considered simultaneously in a holistic way. A comprehensive understanding of revolution, which is the subject of this chapter, is multidimensional, multidisciplinary, and holistic. It is so because it considers the life of each individual to be multidimensional, where these dimensions are studied by academic disciplines, and that all these various dimensions are dialectically related to other individuals and their social context.

6  A Comprehensive Understanding of Revolution This section brings out the core idea of a comprehensive approach to conflict and revolution. In the comprehensive approach to the understanding of revolution, which is the subject of this chapter, the life of each individual is multidimensional. For instance, some of these dimensions are studied by the existing academic disciplines. Some other dimensions may exist, but they are not known yet, and therefore, they are not under study by any academic disciplines. Therefore, this comprehensive approach allows for the use of the contributions coming from existing academic disciplines and also allows for the use in future of the future contributions coming from academic disciplines, i.e., those contributions which will come to existence in the future. Each of the individual’s life dimensions can be regarded as a continuum, for instance, ranging from very low to very high. At any point in time, each individual perceives himself/herself as having an “actual position” and a “preferred position” on each continuum of his/her life dimensions. At any point in time, the “actual position” of the individual on each dimension is that individual’s perceived location of himself/herself on the continuum of that dimension at that point in time. Similarly, at any point in time, the “preferred position” of the individual on each dimension is that individual’s perceived preferred location on the continuum of that dimension at that point in time. Furthermore, at any point in time, the individual has a perception of the relative importance of his/her life dimensions, i.e., the individual associates more importance to some dimensions of his/her life, and the individual associates less importance to some other dimensions of his/her life. All individual’s perceptions are dialectical outcomes of the individual’s personal characteristics and the characteristics of his/her environment, including physical, cultural, social, structural, natural, and other factors, which can be real or perceived. In general, as soon as there is a real or perceived change in any of these factors, its dialectical interaction with the individual will result in a change in the individual’s actual position and preferred position on each of his/her life dimensions, as well as a change in the relative importance he/she associates with those life dimensions.


8  Understanding Revolution: A Comprehensive Approach

In general, the actual position of the individual on each of his/her life dimensions is different from his/her preferred position. Due to the deviation of the actual position from the preferred position on any of his/her life dimensions, the individual is in the state of discomfort. At this time, the individual develops the potential for reaction, which is referred to as “latent conflict.” This marks the beginning of a potential conflict. When the individual takes an actual action, then the “latent conflict” turns into “overt conflict” or “conflict” for short.1 This comprehensive approach to revolution, as was noted above, allows for any factor to dialectically interact with the individual, the outcome of which will be a change in both the actual position and preferred position of the individual on each of his/her life dimensions, as well as a change in the relative importance of those life dimensions. For instance, any action taken by the individual himself, or any other individual, will, in general, change both the actual position and preferred position of the individual on each of his/her life dimensions. By the same token, this same change will also change both the actual positions and preferred positions of all other individuals on each of their life dimensions. All these changes are dialectically related. This comprehensive approach to revolution also allows for an individual’s conflict not only be with other individuals and groups of individuals but also with the nature. When the individual perceives that his/her discomfort emanated from another individual, group of individuals, or nature, then the individual might perceive himself as being in conflict with that individual, or that group of individuals, or the nature, respectively. This comprehensive approach to revolution explains why the activities of some individuals might seem rational, behavioral, inconsistent, or irrational. The dynamism built into this comprehensive approach to revolution is based on the dialectical relationship of each individual with many other individuals, groups of individuals, and the nature, as well as with their personal characteristics, values, cultures, social structure, natural environment, etc. Such dialectical relationships will have the outcome that each individual’s actual position relative to preferred position, whether real or perceived, on each of his/her life dimensions, as well as the relative importance of his/her various life dimensions will change, and therefore, it is possible for the individual, under the new set of circumstances, to perform an action which might seem inconsistent with the individual’s action if the circumstances had not changed. The life of every individual is conflict ridden. Any event – whether it is an action taken by an individual, by a group of individuals, or the nature – is a change, and this change changes the actual position of all individuals relative to their preferred position on each of their life dimensions and, therefore, makes the life of every individual conflict ridden. Individuals who perceive themselves as experiencing a similar conflict might tend to attract each other, might tend to sympathize with each other, might tend to search for a way to resolve the conflict which they are experiencing, and might tend 1  For similar, but different, literature on modeling self-society interaction (such as affect control theory, identity control theory, and identity negotiation theory), see Owens et al. (2010), Stryker (2007), and Stryker and Burke (2000).

6 A Comprehensive Understanding of Revolution


to form a sympathizing group, an action group, an interest group, and a political entity to resolve their conflict, i.e., might tend to try to move closer to their preferred position on any of their life dimensions. These possible tendencies take effect to the extent that there is a critical mass of individuals whose conflict-ridden experience is server enough and also to the extent that they have the necessary political freedom and resources for the implementation of these tendencies. The severity or degree of a conflict to any individual on each of his/her life dimensions partly depends on the extent of deviation of his/her actual position from his/her preferred position on that life dimension, as well as the extent of the importance of that life dimension relative to his/her other life dimensions. Each individual has many life dimensions. In general, each individual feels conflict ridden on each of his/her life dimensions. This leads any specific individual to experience multiple conflicts and, therefore, tend to sympathize with and/or become a member of various action groups, interest groups, and/or political organizations. In this way, each action group, interest group, or political organization consists of members, each of whom is experiencing a different degree of the same conflict, whether perceived or real, and by joining the group or political organization, they hope to improve their life situation, whether perceived or real. Accordingly, each individual has a different degree of commitment to the shared goal of the organization and, depending on this and other personal factors (which are the outcome of the dialectical relationships of the individual with physical, cultural, social, environmental, and other factors), and, therefore, at any point in time during a conflict resolution or a social revolution (just to take the opposite poles of the continuum of conflict for argument’s sake) each individual takes a somewhat different position and supports a somewhat different policy from other individuals, and the same individual takes somewhat different positions and supports somewhat different policies during the period of a conflict resolution or social revolution because all factors affecting the individual are constantly changing. These are all the advantages that come with the dynamisms built into this comprehensive approach to revolution. This comprehensive approach to revolution, as noted above, recognizes that individuals have a multidimensional life, and based on their conflicts in various dimensions, decide to be associated with various groups and organizations. This means that the society consists of overlapping groups and organizations, and, therefore, the society tends to have a cohesive existence orientation. In a conflict-ridden situation, the extant literature allows for either of two alternative routes: (1) assume homeostasis that brings the individual to his/her preferred position and (2) assume conflict as a fact of life and analyze its consequences. The comprehensive approach to revolution, which is the subject of this chapter, allows for both alternative routes. If a conflict-ridden situation is not resolved by itself, or is not resolved quickly enough by itself, there might be an opportunity for intervention with the hope of moving it toward conflict resolution. In a conflict resolution case, the parties to the conflict, directly or indirectly, negotiate in order to resolve the conflict. The parties to the conflict can be an individual, groups of individuals, the government, the economic system, nature, etc. Through negotiation, the conflict might be prevented from becoming more conflict-ridden.


8  Understanding Revolution: A Comprehensive Approach

A conflict-ridden case might not have the opportunity for moving toward r­esolution. Then, the conflict can become more severe. In the special case of the internal governance of a country, if conflict resolution is not a possibility, and the situation becomes more severely conflict ridden, i.e., the conflict situation becomes more escalated and polarized, then it can turn into a revolution, where revolution can be regarded as an extreme case on the continuum of conflict, where its extreme poles are conflict resolution and social revolution. The causes, courses, and consequences of revolutions depend on the relative strengths of the two sides involved in the various dimensions of the dialectical relationship in the revolutionary conflict. This comprehensive approach, as outlined above, is compatible with the extant literature on conflict and revolution. In the following, this is shown by a series of excerpts from the literature, which corresponds to the order of narrative provided above, i.e., (a) individual and conflict, (b) conflict resolution, and (c) social revolution.

6.1  Individual and Conflict Rex (1961) starts his argument by noting that any element of a social relation, institution, or system is necessary only to the extent that the ends and values achieved by the system are desired by individuals and groups. He ends his argument by “. . . emphasizing the importance of these ends and values and in recognizing that there may be conflicts and contradictions amongst them, . . .” (Rex 1961, p. viii). Willer and Zollschan (1964) broaden Dahrendorf’s account of conflict group emergence by modifying his “‘exigency’ leads to ‘articulation’ which leads to ‘action schema’” in order to create a “. . . a more adequate theory of group conflict . . .” which “. . . may be deployed to illuminate revolutions which, of course, become special cases of the general theory of conflict” (Willer and Zollschan 1964, p. 130). Fink (1968) advocates a broad definition of conflict for the purpose of developing a general theory of social conflict. He offers the following definition: “. . . social conflict as any social situation or process in which two or more social entities are linked by at least one form of antagonistic psychological relation or at least one form of antagonistic interaction.” This emphasizes that antagonism is the common element in all conflicts and that “. . . there are a number of different kinds of psychological antagonisms (e.g., incompatible goals, mutually exclusive interests, emotional hostility, factual or value dissensus, traditional enmities, etc.) and a number of different kinds of antagonistic interaction (ranging from the most direct, violent, and unregulated struggle to the most subtle, indirect, and highly regulated forms of mutual interference), . . .” (Fink 1968, pp. 455–456). Gurr (1973) provides the following quote from Mack and Snyder (1957) “. . . social change – its rate and direction – is an ultimate source of conflict because, as the factual social order undergoes transition, new incompatibilities and antagonistic interests arise” (Gurr 1973, p. 375).

6 A Comprehensive Understanding of Revolution


Gurr (1973) compares reformist violence with revolutionary violence and states: “The reformist motive for violence is a desire for limited change, the revolutionary motive a desire for wide­spread, thoroughgoing change” (Gurr 1973, p. 384).

6.2  Conflict Resolution Salert (1976) discusses the concept of homeostasis along the following lines. A homeostatic social system means that the social system is “self-regulating.” A homeostatic system is an open system, that is, it receives inputs from its environment. Furthermore, the system influences environmental conditions in order to maintain the stability of the system. Systemic stability, or homeostatic equilibrium, is achieved when certain “functional prerequisites,” “essential variables,” or “needs” are satisfied. In such case, the system will survive and will remain in adequate working order. System stability, or homeostatic equilibrium, is then achieved when the values of the essential variables remain within the range necessary for the system to be in adequate working order. A homeostatic system is a system that is in adequate working order and successfully adapt to changes in environmental conditions. Salert (1976) adds that “If environmental conditions change, the system will also change so as to maintain stability with respect to the functional prerequisites” (Salert 1976, pp. 77–79). Stone (1966) regards the concept of homeostatic social system as a logical consequence of the preoccupation of sociologists with a model of perpetual society in a stable, self-regulating state. In such a harmonious social system, all forms of violent conflict are anomalies, which should be treated as pathological disorders. It is, he adds “. . . a society without change, with universal consensus on values, with complete social harmony, and isolated from external threats; . . .” (Stone 1966, pp. 160–161). Gurr (1980) notes that conflict is both creative and destructive and recommends that “. . . conflict research should aim at enhancing the creative and nonviolent consequences of conflict and minimizing its destructive consequences” (Gurr 1980, p. 12). Coser (1956) proposes that conflict among groups strengthens group cohesiveness and separateness, reduces tension and deviation within group, clarifies group objectives, and helps establish group norms. Fink (1968) notes that a conflict state causes a conflict behavior and a conflict process, and he adds “. . . one of the consequences of a conflict process may be the resolution or elimination of a conflict state”(Fink 1968, p. 434). Converse (1968) quotes Rinde and Rokkan (1959) as advocating with others that scholars should “concentrate research on short-term and long-term procedures for handling and resolving conflicts”(Rinde and Rokkan 1959, p. 2), (Converse 1968, p. 475). Deutsch (2000) suggests that “. . . constructive processes of conflict resolution are similar to cooperative processes of problem solving, and destructive processes


8  Understanding Revolution: A Comprehensive Approach

of conflict resolution are similar to competitive processes.” He then explains that “. . . a cooperative-constructive process of conflict resolution leads to such good outcomes as mutual benefits and satisfaction, strengthening relationship, positive psychological effects, and so on, . . .” And he continues his explanation “. . . a competitive-destructive process leads to material losses and dissatisfaction, worsening relationship, and negative psychological effects in at least one party . . .” (Deutsch 2000, p. 27). Schelling (1960) divides the theories of conflict into two main categories: (1) theories that treat conflict as pathology and seek its causes and treatment and (2) theories that treat conflict as a fact of life and study the behavior associated with it. “Among the latter there is a further division between those that examine the participants in a conflict in all their complexity – with regard to both ‘rational’ and ‘irrational’ behavior, conscious and unconscious, and to motivations as well as to calculations – and those that focus on the more rational, conscious, artful kind of behavior” (Schelling 1960, p. 3). Eckstein (1965) notes that “In real life, internal war, like other concrete events, results from the interplay of forces and counterforces, from a balance of probabilities pulling toward internal war and internal peace” (Eckstein 1965, p. 153). Mack and Snyder (1957) state that conflict resolution is “. . . designed to reduce or eliminate conflict . . .” (Mack and Snyder 1957, p. 212). Mack and Snyder (1957) state that “variables cited to account for conflict tend to be many in number and to be unrelated or unrelatable in many instances” (Mack and Snyder 1957, p. 213). Mack and Snyder (1957) note that scholars have made many propositions on social conflict (Mack and Snyder 1957, p. 214). “Propositions must also be compared and related to one another. Often propositions are flatly contradictory – or so it seems” (Mack and Snyder 1957, p. 216). Mack and Snyder (1957) define two types of conflict as follows: “Realistic conflict is characterized by opposed means and ends, by incompatibility of values and interests. Non-realistic conflict arises from the need for tension release, from deflected hostility, from historical tradition, and from ignorance or error” (Mack and Snyder 1957, p. 219). Mack and Snyder (1957) state “In view of the preoccupation with the evil consequences of conflict, it is not surprising that the literature on causation overbalances the rest” (Mack and Snyder 1957, p. 222). Mack and Snyder (1957) state “Emphasis on the sources of conflict has . . . been due . . . to the scientist’s . . . preoccupation with conflict as a costly social problem, . . .,” and accordingly scientists recognized that “. . . sources are natural foci for reforms and changes which will supposedly reduce or eliminate conflict” (Mack and Snyder 1957, p. 222). Mack and Snyder (1957) note that responses or decisions with respect to conflict situations may result in the origination of conflict interaction, in withdrawal from a potential conflict situation, in a change from nonviolent to violent or extreme ­conflict, or in accommodation to a stable conflict relationship. In summary, Mack and Snyder (1957) state “These outcomes, more often than not, depend on choices” (Mack and Snyder 1957, pp. 223–224).

6 A Comprehensive Understanding of Revolution


Mack and Snyder (1957) suggest that instead of the listing of causes of war or the attribution of single, overpowering motives to nations, it is more fundamental to approach the analysis of conflict, in general, and war in particular, along the following lines: “Under what conditions do foreign policy-makers decide, in effect, that all viable alternatives have been reduced to one? Is it possible to identify a ‘point of no return’ in a conflict relation progressing toward war? What effect do the nature, flow, and interpretation of information have on the foreclosure of alternatives?” (Mack and Snyder 1957, p. 224). Mack and Snyder (1957) note that “. . . conflict potential is dampened if individuals are pulled in opposite directions by their group affiliations or incompatible values” (Mack and Snyder 1957, p. 224). Mack and Snyder (1957) note that the analyses of decisions and responses of individuals in a conflict-ridden situation require attention to be paid to both psychological and sociological variables. Mack and Snyder (1957) state “The behavior of decision-makers is to be viewed as a resultant of such factors as individual perceptions and institutionalized information flows” as well as “. . . competitory response tendencies and the nature of stimuli in the social environment” (Mack and Snyder 1957, p. 224). Mack and Snyder (1957) state that “. . . certain elements inherent in the nature of parties to conflict, in the interaction relationships between parties, and in the social context will often account for the origin, form, intensity, duration, limits, and resolutionof conflict” (Mack and Snyder 1957, p. 225). Mack and Snyder (1957) state that “Social change affects conflict . . . Changes are constantly shifting the bases of potentially antagonistic interests and the relative power positions of individuals and groups. As the value potentiality of the social environment shifts, new demands, new frustrations, and new incompatibilities arise” (Mack and Snyder 1957, p. 225). Mack and Snyder (1957) state “In a complex industrial urban society realistic conflict will tend to be carried on by highly organized groups having diverse memberships and specialized representatives and negotiators. In a less complex communal society, there will tend to be more direct, face-to-face interpersonal conflict” (Mack and Snyder 1957, p. 226). Mack and Snyder (1957) argue that “Since preoccupation with conflict often centers on its most violent, abhorrent, and socially-costly forms, it is likely that the average reader will regard all conflict as universally bad” (Mack and Snyder 1957, p. 227). But, they emphasize that “. . . there are important positive social functions served by conflict. . . . This . . . does not . . . imply that conflict is not often dysfunctional and very costly” (Mack and Snyder 1957, p. 228). Mack and Snyder (1957) note that “. . . no scholar, reformer, critic, or politician has ever denied that conflict is an all-pervasive fact of human life, nor does anyone deny that society persists in spite of . . . conflict. As . . . the functional and ­dysfunctional aspects of conflict are opposite sides of the same coin” (Mack and Snyder 1957, p. 228). Mack and Snyder (1957) state that “The term ‘party’ . . . will be taken to include individual actors, culture, coalition, social class, personality, nation, organization,


8  Understanding Revolution: A Comprehensive Approach

organism, system, or group. Party refers to analytic units, . . . between which, or in some cases within which, conflict takes place. . . . each of these unit types may be viewed operationally as an abstraction of certain observable tendencies and actions of persons and of certain relationships” (Mack and Snyder 1957, p. 229). Mack and Snyder (1957) note that “. . . conflict should be viewed in the context of the needs, beliefs, perceptions, values, and attitudes of individuals and groups” (Mack and Snyder 1957, p. 232). Mack and Snyder (1957) note that “. . . conflict may itself induce prejudice, unfavorable stereotypes, and hostility.” This implies that “. . . the relationship between party characteristics and conflict interaction is reciprocal, not unilateral” (Mack and Snyder 1957, p. 232). Mack and Snyder (1957) note that there are various methods for resolving or controlling conflicts, such as “Arbitration, mediation (more often than not used synonymously with conciliation), negotiation, inquiry, legislation, judicial settlement, informal consensus (meeting of minds through discussion), the market, violence or force, authoritative command, and varieties of voting procedures are familiar ones” (Mack and Snyder 1957, p. 238). Mack and Snyder (1957) note that one way to classify conflicts is to divide them into violent and nonviolent categories. However, “The overemphasis on violent modes . . . has had the effect of obscuring the relation between non-violent and violent modes, . . .” (Mack and Snyder 1957, p. 240).

6.3  Social Revolution Goldstone (1980) noted that the second generation of theorists of revolution treated revolution as “the ‘ultimate’ political conflict, in which the normal struggle between interest groups is escalated – by both the intensity of the conflict and the magnitude of resources that interest groups bring to bear – to the point where normal political processes for conflict mediation and resolution fail, and the political system is violently split apart” Goldstone (1980, p. 429). Eckstein (1965) notes that “internal wars do not always have a clear aim, a tight organization, a distinct shape and tendency from the outset. . . . if there is an art of revolution, it involves, . . . capitalizing on the unallocated political resources it provides”(Eckstein 1965, p. 141). Willer and Zollschan (1964) use the “‘exigency’ leads to ‘articulation’ which leads to ‘action schema’” of conflict group emergence to shed light on the understanding of revolution. They define an exigency as “. . . a feeling of unease in the person and the occurrence of unrest in a collectivity stemming from a differential between the person’s definition of the relevant social situation as it is and as it should be. Typically an exigency as such is on a pre-verbal level.” Furthermore, they define an articulation as “. . . any verbal statement capable of translating an exigency into an expressed need.” Articulations may appear as simple statements

6 A Comprehensive Understanding of Revolution


all the way to elaborate ideological systems. They may be expressed by a single individual or a group of individuals. Articulations may be based on a real or perceived situation, “and the programs they imply or propose may not satisfy the exigency” (Willer and Zollschan 1964, p. 131). Willer and Zollschan (1964) note that a revolution takes place to overthrow a government. In order to understand revolution, there is a need to understand the structure of the government. That is, there is a need to understand “. . . the degree to which clear-cut, legitimate channels exist for various groups and associations in the society to participate in, or otherwise directly affect, the decisions made by the government. The extremes of the resulting continuum of governmental types we may call unitary and pluralistic governmental structures” (Willer and Zollschan 1964, p.134). Willer and Zollschan (1964) also note that for an interest group to take action, they need to develop their ideology and compete with other ideologies for its acceptance, based on which the interest group expands, recruits members, formalizes the movement, and centralizes the organization. For a successful revolution, numerous organized interest groups coalescence into one (or a limited number of) revolutionary organization(s) and establish an organizational leadership. Willer and Zollschan (1964) note that “The probable success of revolutionary movements, and also the exact form taken by revolutions, depends upon the type of governmental structure against which the revolution has taken place. . . . most successful revolutions in modern times have been against monolithic . . . governmental structures. Monolithic governmental structures provide the likeliest situations for an accumulation of blocked, valent, oppositionist interests to take place and to reach ‘critical mass’” (Willer and Zollschan 1964, p. 146). Willer and Zollschan (1964) also add that “. . . unsuccessful revolutions are . . . most typical of pluralistic structures. . . . the means used in operating within the system are very similar, if not identical, to the means necessary for overthrowing it. . . . Under these circumstances it is, of course, highly questionable whether revolution can succeed where other methods, requiring similar resources, cannot” (Willer and Zollschan 1964, p. 147). Fink (1968) refers to Wright’s (1951, 1965) framework for analyzing the dynamics of war, which can similarly be used for analyzing the dynamics of revolution. Wright’s (1951) framework includes a rough sequential model, which involves the following process: 1. Inconsistencies in the “sentiments, purposes, claims, or opinions of social entities” (e.g., radical differences of religion, ideology, or institutions) may lead parties to take respective action. 2. Such actions lead to social tension, whose magnitude depends on the relative strength of the parties involved and on the extent to which there are close contacts between them. 3. The higher the level of social tension, the higher the probability of conflict, i.e., the attempt to resolve the inconsistencies.


8  Understanding Revolution: A Comprehensive Approach

4. If inconsistencies cannot be resolved through conflict  – e.g., if tension is ­relatively high and regulatory arrangements are relatively ineffective – then conflict may escalate to the level of open violence, of which war is a special case (Wright 1951, pp. 193–97). Fink (1968) notes that Wright (1965) broadens Wright’s (1951) narrow conception of conflict  – which restricts the meaning of conflict to overt struggle  – and modifies Wright’s (1951) sequence as follows: “Conflict is a particular relationship between states and may exist at all levels and in various degrees. In the broad sense of the term it may be divided into four stages: (1) awareness of inconsistencies, (2) rising tensions, (3) pressures short of military force to resolve the inconsistencies, and (4) military intervention or war to dictate a solution” Fink (1968, pp. 435–436). Eckstein (1965) insists that in the analysis of revolution, emphasis should be placed upon the characteristics of both the insurgents and the incumbents, i.e., upon the side that rebels and the side that is rebelled against. In other words, the characteristics of the incumbents and their props must be considered simultaneously with the characteristics of the insurgents. Pareto believes that for a revolution to become possible, it is necessary that certain internal changes need to occur in the elite. He believed that if the elite preserve their capacity for timely and effective violence, or for effective manipulation, then they cannot be successfully assailed, or perhaps assailed at all. According to Pareto, the origins of internal war should not only be sought in the gain of strength by the non-elite but also in the loss of strength by the elite. Brinton, similarly, believes that revolutions follow when the elites lose their common values, internal cohesion, sense of destiny and superiority, and political efficiency. Edwards and Pettee, similarly, believe that revolutions emerge as affairs of the crucial segment of the elites, i.e., intellectuals – who are rich and powerful but “cramped” by their lack of status or other perquisites – and by the gross inefficiency of the ruling apparatus. Trotsky, similarly, believed that “revolution requires three elements: (1) the political consciousness of a revolutionary class; (2) the discontent of the ‘intermediate layers’ of society; and (3) a ruling class which has ‘lost faith in itself,’ which is torn by the conflicts of groups and cliques, which has lost its capacity for practical action and rests its hopes in ‘miracles or miracle workers’” (Eckstein 1965, pp. 145–146). Eckstein (1965) adds that internal wars are almost invariably preceded by elites’ major functional failures, most importantly their difficulties in financial administration, which interfere with the ability of governments to perform all their functions. Indeed, one of the most common conditions before large-scale political violence has been found to be the financial bankruptcy of government, which has been due to profligacy, overambitious policies, or the failure of a traditional tax structure in an inflationary situation, which is followed by an attack upon the financial privileges of the main props of the regime. Moreover, insurgent groups have almost always started their actual fighting with some support from alienated members of ­incumbent elites. “On this point, agreement in the literature on internal war is practically unanimous” (Eckstein 1965, pp. 147–148).

6 A Comprehensive Understanding of Revolution


Eckstein (1965) proposes that the potential for internal war should be analyzed in terms of the ratio between positive forces making for internal war and negative forces working against it. In addition, the two opposite forces should be conceived in terms of four factors. “The positive forces are produced by the inefficacy of elites (lack of cohesion and of expected performance), disorienting social processes (de-­ legitimization), subversion (attempts deliberately to activate disorientation, to form new political orientations and to impede the efficacy of elites), and the facilities available to potential insurgents. Countervailing these factors are four others: the facilities of incumbents, effective repression (not any kind of repression), adjustive concessions and diversionary mechanisms – the first referring to the incumbents’ perceived capacity to fight if internal war occurs, the others to preventative actions” (Eckstein 1965, pp. 159–160). Eckstein (1965) states that his proposal constitutes a formal approach to the interpretation of specific cases of internal wars and to the construction of a general theory of internal war. Although internal wars are in some ways similar, they are in most respects greatly various. Therefore, it is important for a general theory of internal war to not only be able to account for internal wars, in general but also to account for specific forms of internal wars, in particular. Eckstein (1965) believes that his proposal has both of these qualities. That is “By weighing the general balance of positive and negative forces, one can arrive at an assessment of the overall degree of internal-war potential in a society. By considering the particular forces, combinations of forces, and ratios of forces that are strong or weak  – the forces that are especially instrumental in determining the overall result – one can arrive at definite ideas of what kinds of internal war are likely to occur (quite apart from the possibility that the general degree of internal-war potential may itself set limits to the varieties that internal war can take)” (Eckstein 1965, p. 163). Eckstein (1965) explains that his proposal avoids the problems of historical studies of internal wars, which pile up unrelated theories, and it also prevents the flaw of unhistorical, abstract models of revolutionary processes, which disregard especial forces in particular cases. He further explains that his proposal can deal coherently with the transformation of many internal wars in the course of their development – i.e., the revolutionary “process.” This is because “. . . the constellations of forces that provide initial impetus to internal wars are likely to undergo constant transformation in their course, much as such constellations may vary in the pre-­revolutionary period. Subversion may become more intense, more purposeful; the balance of facilities may shift; incumbent elites may become more cohesive or disunited under fire; mild disorientation may become severe as authority is challenged and society disrupted by violence; the insurgents may win power, but at the cost of their own cohesion and without being able to provide effective new legitimations – and thus internal wars may proceed from stage to stage, from type to type, in unique or characteristic, continuous or spasmodic, dynamic patterns” (Eckstein 1965. p. 163). Stone (1966) emphasizes that the condition and attitude of the entrenched elite are vital in creating a revolutionary situation. The elite may become less ­manipulative, weaker militarily, less self-confidence, less cohesive, estranged from the non-­elite, overwhelmed by a financial crisis, more incompetent, weaker, or more brutal. Any


8  Understanding Revolution: A Comprehensive Approach

combination of two or more of such characteristics will increase the likelihood of a revolution. When such elite errors are compounded by its intransigence, then the situation becomes fatal to the elite. When the elite ignores the need for reform – i.e., when it avoids all peaceful, constitutional means of social adjustment  – then it unites various deprived individuals into the opposition to the elite, such that the opposition may become violent. “It is this process of polarization into two coherent groups or alliances of what are naturally and normally a series of fractional and shifting tensions and conflicts within a society that both Peter Amman and Wilbert Moore see as the essential preliminary to the outbreak of a Jacobin Revolution” (Stone 1966, pp. 165–166). Zagorin (1973) cautions against generalizations. For instance, he notes that Tocqueville connected the development of revolution with lightened oppression, whereas Marx connected the development of revolution with intensified oppression or exploitation. Zagorin (1973) further notes that “In 1944, the American historian Louis Gottschalk published an article proposing five general causes of revolutions, such as provocation by regimes, solidified public opinion, hopefulness of change. A list of this kind, however, is too nebulous to contribute much to the development of a theory of revolutionary causation” (Zagorin 1973, p. 29). Zagorin (1973) furthermore notes that Brinton makes generalizations about the conditions that prevail before the revolution as an economically advancing society, an inefficient, financially hard-pressed government, class antagonisms, desertion of the existing order by the intellectuals, and loss of self-confidence by the ruling elite. Zagorin (1973) adds that Brinton also makes generalizations about the successive stages of revolution as the control of moderates, the rule of extremists, the reign of terror, and a Thermidorean reaction. Zagorin (1973) further adds that Brinton also makes generalizations about the effects of revolution as great property transfers, the replacement of one ruling class by another, and the establishment of more efficient, centralized government. Zagorin (1973) emphasizes that such generalizations are subject to many exceptions. For instance, in the English Revolution, there was no class antagonism, no desertion of the intellectuals, and no reign of terror. Similarly, in the American Revolution, there was no victory of the extremists, no terror, no Thermidor, and no “tyrant” dictator who reestablished order. “Furthermore, neither in England nor in America did one ruling class replace another” (Zagorin 1973, pp. 30–31). Kraminick (1972) emphasizes Pareto’s contribution regarding whether or not to use force in society. Force is used by both sides of a conflict, i.e., by those who wish to preserve a specific order and by those who wish to violate that order. Similarly, violence is used by both sides of a conflict, i.e., the violence of one side stands in opposition to the violence of the other side. If the representative of the incumbent disavows the use of force, he, indeed, disavows the use of force by insurgents. And “. . . if, instead, he lauds the use of force, he is thinking of the use of force by those who would break away from certain social uniformities” (Kraminick 1972, p. 29). Freeman (1972) notices that Smelser (1962) defines a hostile outburst as mobilization for action under a hostile belief, where the hostile belief is against a person or class of persons who is responsible for the strain. That is, “the structure of

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responsibility” is built into the definition of a hostile outburst. If the government is held responsible for social strains, then a revolution is a hostile outburst directed at that government. Accordingly, “. . . the formula for revolution is: strain + government responsibility + intransigence + weakness” (Freeman 1972, pp. 342–343). Goldfrank (1979) emphasizes that a government which seems legitimate merely reflects the acquiescence and self-interested obedience of the people to the enforcers. “But revolutions make history – quantity can turn into quality – when the structural opportunity for sustained revolt permits such groups to escape the bounds of quotidian politics” (Goldfrank 1979, p. 136). Fisher (2000) insists that intergroup conflict is both an objective and a subjective phenomenon. Social sciences understand conflict to be the result of real differences between groups in terms of social power, access to resources, important life values, or other significant incompatibilities. However, these realistic sources of conflict are subject to the subjective processes individuals employ in seeing and interpreting the world, in misperception and misunderstanding, and “. . . in how groups function in the face of differences and perceived threat” (Fisher 2000, p. 167). Fisher (2000) also notes that conflicts are, in general, very costly both to the parties involved and the wider system, and consequently concludes that it is necessary to understand their causation, escalation, and resolution. Human beings – as individuals or groups – are not well equipped to deal with their differences, and they often make the situation worse. They need social processes and institutions to enable them to manage their incompatibilities effectively. The constructive resolution of their conflicts “. . . can be a source of learning, creativity, and social change toward a pluralistic, harmonious, and equitable world” (Fisher 2000, p. 167). Fisher (2000) further notes that the escalation of conflict is the process through which conflict becomes intense and hostile. Escalation involves increasingly intense use of methods of influence, especially coercive and punishing tactics. Escalation often proliferates beyond the basic conflict (e.g., wages or benefits in union-­ management conflict) to process issues that involve how the two parties treat each other (e.g., use of deception in negotiation). Escalation feeds largely on fear and defensiveness, in which a threat by one party to gain its objectives is responded by a counterthreat from the other party, and the reciprocal interaction moves to a higher level of cost in consecutive rounds in an environment of increasing mistrust. “The downside of escalation is found not only in the pain and cost that the parties endure but as well in the resistance to de-escalation and resolution that negative interaction creates” (Fisher 2000, pp. 173–174). Goldstone (1994) notes that “. . . a key element in revolutionary conjunctures in the modern world is the willingness of international superpowers to support, or resist, revolutionary movements. . . . a permissive or supportive world context increases the chance that an unstable situation will blossom into open revolution” (Goldstone 1994, p. 16). Sanderson (2005) notes that since the start of the modern world, states have been exerting much more extensive controls over populations, resources, and activities – taxing, conscripting, commandeering, regulating, policing, and erecting systems of surveillance. At the same time, there have been massive growth in national armed


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forces and state budgets, and almost all states exerted wider, deeper, more direct control on property, production, and political activity. He concludes that: “Revolutions are distinctly modern phenomena, limited at most to the last 500 years. They are a product of the modern world specifically because of the enormous changes wrought by the rise of modern capitalism and the growth of the modern state” (Sanderson 2005, pp. 3–4). Goodwin (1997) insists that revolutions are unusually state-centered phenomena because revolutions involve forcible transfer of power over states. Social revolutions are a modern phenomenon, as they have occurred with considerable frequency during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, whereas they did not occur at all before the seventeenth century. This is because the international state system is a modern phenomenon. In other words, if there are no states, there will be no revolutions. Indeed, revolutionary movements are concerned with seizing state power. This is “. . . because the state enforces (through violence if necessary) the most fundamental “rules” of a society (whether these are codified as laws or not) by virtue of its control of the principal means of coercion, any radical recasting of these rules requires access to, and indeed a fundamental reorganization of, state power itself” (Goodwin 1997, pp. 12–13). Goodwin (1997) adds that often political crises created revolutionary opportunities. Such political crises that made revolutions possible were not brought about by revolutionaries; rather, they were brought about by conflicts between dominant classes and autonomous state officials – i.e., conflicts that were produced or exacerbated by geopolitical competition – that provided opportunities for the rebellious lower classes and self-conscious revolutionaries to seize. Furthermore, “. . . where and when people are rebellious, and strong revolutionary movements form, they may not always be able to seize state power – unless, that is, they are able to exploit the political opportunities opened up by state breakdowns” (Goodwin 1997, pp. 13–14). Goodwin (1997) further adds that not only certain types of state break down create opportunities that strong revolutionary movements can exploit but also “certain states unintentionally foster the very formation and indeed hegemony of radical movements by politicizing popular grievances, foreclosing possibilities for peaceful reform, compelling people to take up arms in order to defend themselves, making radical ideologies and identities plausible, providing the minimal political space that revolutionaries require to organize disgruntled people, and weakening counterrevolutionary elites, including their own officer corps” (Goodwin 1997, pp. 16–18). Gurr (1970) based on psychological evidence suggests that men have a capacity but not a need for aggression and that in some social circumstances, men exercise that capacity collectively. Men learn to use violence, and some groups adopt violence, while others avoid violence. “Potential for collective violence is a function of the extent and intensity of shared discontents among members of a society; the potential for political violence is a function of the degree to which such discontents are blamed on the political system and its agents” (Gurr 1970, p. 8). “Certainly the use of public force to counter private violence, and the nature of human organization, make a difference in the shape and extent of violence” (Gurr 1970, p. ix).

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“The use of violence by one party to a conflict strongly disposes the other party to retaliate in kind; violence and counter-violence tend to escalate until one or both parties’ capacity for violence is exhausted” (Gurr 1970, p. 8). Gurr (1970) takes the frustration-aggression proposition – by which the greater the frustration, the greater the quantity of aggression used against the source of frustration – and applies it to political violence: the greater the intensity of deprivation, the greater the magnitude of violence. Other perceptual and motivational factors that are relevant to political violence can be subsumed by the deprivation concept. Individuals differ – presumably according to a normal distribution – in the intensity of frustration each needs to exert overt aggression. Therefore, “. . . the proportion of a population that participates in violence ought to vary with the average intensity of perceived deprivation” (Gurr 1970, p. 9). Gurr (1970) summarizes the causal sequence of political violence as follows: (1) the development of discontent, (2) the politicization of that discontent, and (3) the actualization of political discontent in violent action against political objects and actors. Discontent arises from the perception of relative deprivation. “The linked concepts of discontent and deprivation comprise most of the psychological states implicit or explicit in such theoretical notions about the causes of violence as frustration, alienation, drive and goal conflicts, exigency, and strain” (Gurr 1970, p. 13). Gurr (1970) defines “relative deprivation as a perceived discrepancy between men’s value expectations and their value capabilities. Value expectations are the goods and conditions of life to which people believe they are rightfully entitled. Value capabilities are the goods and conditions they think they are capable of attaining or maintaining, given the social means available to them. Societal conditions that increase the average level or intensity of expectations without increasing capabilities increase the intensity of discontent. Among the general conditions that have such effects are the value gains of other groups and the promise of new opportunities . . . . Societal conditions that decrease men’s average value position without decreasing their value expectations similarly increase deprivation, hence the intensity of discontent. The inflexibility of value stocks in a society, short-term deterioration in a group’s conditions of life, and limitations of its structural opportunities have such effects . . .” (Gurr 1970, p. 13). Gurr (1970) argues that deprivation-induced discontent acts as a general spur to action. Both psychological theory and group conflict theory suggest that the greater the intensity of discontent, the greater the likelihood of violence. “The specificity of this impulse to action is determined by men’s beliefs about the sources of deprivation, and about the normative and utilitarian justifiability of violent action directed at the agents responsible for it” (Gurr 1970, p. 13). Gurr (1970) further argues that “societal variables that affect the focusing of discontent on political objects include the extent of cultural and subcultural sanctions for overt aggression, the extent and degree of success of past political ­violence, the articulation and dissemination of symbolic appeals justifying violence, the legitimacy of the political system, and the kinds of responses it makes and has made to relative deprivation . . .” (Gurr 1970, p. 14).


8  Understanding Revolution: A Comprehensive Approach

Gurr (1970) furthermore argues that the form and magnitude of political violence are partly dependent on the scope and intensity of politicized discontent and partly dependent on the patterns of coercive control and institutional support in the political community. The magnitude of political violence is greatest, and most likely takes the form of internal war, if the state and those who oppose it exercise approximately equal degrees of coercive control and have similar and relatively high degrees of institutional support in the society. The state’s coercive capacities and the extent of its use of those capacities crucially affect the form and magnitude of political violence. There is much evidence that some patterns of regime coercive control increase the intensity of discontent such that it can facilitate the transformation of turmoil into full-scale revolutionary movements. By contrast, dissidents use all of their coercive capacities for their defense and for assaults on the state. “The degree of institutional support for dissidents and for regimes is a function of the relative proportions of a nation’s population their organizations mobilize, the complexity and cohesiveness of those organizations, their resources, and the extent to which they provide regularized procedures for value attainment, conflict resolution, and channeling hostility . . .” (Gurr 1970, p. 14). Gurr (1970) then explains that humans respond to the use of force by counterforce. Regimes that are confronted with armed rebellion usually consider compromise as an indication of their weakness and consequently strengthen their military retaliation. Their presumption is that it deters. “This assumption is often a self-­ defeating fallacy. If a regime responds to the threat or use of force with greater force, the effect is likely to be an intensification of resistance: dissidents will resort to greater force” (Gurr 1970, p. 232). Gurr (1970) then adds that the escalating spiral of force and counterforce is limited by either the depletion of either group’s resources for coercion or the attainment by one group of the capacity for genocidal victory over its opponents. “There are societal and psychological limitations as well, but they require tacit bonds between opponents: the acceptance by one of the ultimate authority of the other, submission to arbitration by a neutral authority, recognition of mutual interest that makes bargaining possible, perception that acquiescence will be less harmful than resisting certain annihilation” (Gurr 1970, p. 232). Gurr (1973) compares the way coercion is treated in the literature: “Smelser (1962) and the Feierabend and Feierabend (1966) deal respectively with a system’s extent of ‘social control’ and ‘coerciveness’ as inhibitors of violence. Johnson (1966) and I (Gurr 1970) are both concerned with the relative balance between revolutionary and elite capacities for employing force” (Gurr 1973, p. 371). Gurr (1973) compares the way the feedback effects of violent conflict are treated in the literature. Several theorists (including Eckstein 1965) agree that violent conflict tends to feed on itself and become endemic. Gurr (1970) suggests under what conditions this would indeed be the case. In a conflict, the use of violence by one party strongly disposes the other party to retaliate in kind, such that violence and counterviolence tend to escalate until one or both parties’ capacity for violence is exhausted. This proposition assumes that people are inherently disposed to respond violently to violent attacks, without regard to differences in their

6 A Comprehensive Understanding of Revolution


culture. Gurr (1970) adds that violent conflict also indirectly affects future violence by justifying future group violence. He distinguishes between normative justifications  – i.e., the belief that violence is an approved mode of action  – and utilitarian justifications  – i.e., the belief that violence is a useful means for the attainment of group values. Normative support for violent conflict varies with the magnitude of past violence; utilitarian support for violence varies with the past success of violence. “Some conflict theorists concur that ‘violence breeds violence,’ but . . . arguing that the occurrence of violence in conflict situations tends to undermine the effectiveness of conflict-regulating procedures such as negotiation and mediation. A related proposition (by Coser 1956) is that intergroup violence increases intragroup cohesiveness and hence sharpens lines of division between conflicting groups” (Gurr 1973, pp. 380–381). Gurr (1973) notes that some theorists (including Coser 1956) attribute positive social change to conflict. “Conflict among groups is proposed to strengthen group cohesiveness and separateness, . . . ; to reduce tension and deviation within the group; to clarify group objectives; and to help establish group norms” (Gurr 1973, p. 381). Gurr (1973) refers to Gurr (1970) in which it is proposed that political violence (i.e., violent conflict among political groups) might resolve itself if the dissident group can obtain resources and opportunities by which it can satisfy its discontents. Gurr (1970) does not propose that “winning ends violence,” this is because the “losing group” will most likely initiate the next round of conflict. “The proposition rests rather on the premise that most societies have unused or underutilized stocks of resources and techniques, which in the hands of discontented groups can be used to improve their absolute if not relative position in the distribution of valued goods and conditions” (Gurr 1973, p. 381). Aya (1979) insists that the analysis of revolution should focus on the balance of political power that shifts between mobilized groups contending for control of the state and public policy. This means that the political crux of revolutions should be regarded as an open-ended process of violent struggle in which one set of contenders attempts (successfully or unsuccessfully) to displace another from state power. Although this “. . . political model provides few if any direct answers; it does, on the other hand, open up a range of questions which, when put to available information on popular violence, make more sense of its origins and operation” (Aya 1979, p. 40). Aya (1979) emphasizes that although grievances are necessary for the outbreak of collective protest and rebellion, more important are politically significant resources that people should have at their disposal to act upon grievances. The success of any move, such as violent redress and revolt, to unseat incumbent authorities depends on a favorable social power. Oppressed groups who are in a situation of complete impotence cannot rebel because powerless people are easy victims. “There are many situations on record where ‘severe and persisting grievances’ abound and are clearly perceived as such, but where victimized people lack the political ­wherewithal to galvanize anger into action, or else face such comprehensive repression that any but the most cautious petition for redress is well-nigh suicidal” (Aya 1979, pp. 41–42). This means that “. . . individuals are not magically mobilized for


8  Understanding Revolution: A Comprehensive Approach

action, no matter how aggrieved, hostile, or angry they may feel. Their anger must first be set to collective ends by the coordinating, directing offices of organization, formal or informal. The habitual association of interested friends may count as organizations, as may peasant communities or more modern, ‘artificial’ setups like labor unions or radical parties. The point, in any event, is that there must be some kind of organization on hand to orchestrate discontent and galvanize it into retributive action. Otherwise, the ‘unhappy merely brood passively on the sidelines’” (Aya 1979, pp. 76–77). Aya (1979) believes that revolutions are contests for state power. They happen when one class, group, or (more likely) coalition seizes (or attempts to seize) from another the control over a governmental apparatus – which is the principal concentrated material means of coercion, taxation, and administration in society. Aya (1979) makes two other points: “one, that classes rarely form solidary units of political action in or against the state (even the most monolithic of oligarchies witness factional conflicts); two, that as a consequence, political action groups – especially those that achieve or aspire to state power – are usually cross-class coalitions, . . .” (Aya 1979, p. 83). Aya (1979) adds that “To make historical sense, any viable conception of revolution must take into account that those who initiate, lead, provide mass support for, and ultimately benefit from revolutions are often very different groups of people” (Aya 1979, p. 45). In other words, “. . . politics in history is a game with many players, no one of whom calls all the shots all the time”. (Aya 1979, p. 48). In the analysis of any given revolution, “. . . it must be opened to investigation, case by case, not prescribed beforehand by definition” (Aya 1979, p. 49). Aya (1979) summarizes the political model as follows. Collective violence is a special collective action (or, better, interaction) in the sense that collective violence is a tactical or strategic collective action using coercive means. And, similar to all politics, any collective action is deliberately undertaken for discernible, practical reasons. This does not mean that anger, passion, hatred, and irrational nastiness are not involved in violent politics. Anger and outrage alone do not produce political violence, but they need political mobilization via association, formal or informal, to be galvanized into action. “Consequently, conflicts of political interest settled by violence and bloodshed differ from other conflicts of political interest by that fact alone; they do not comprise or entail some separate species of abnormal ‘collective behavior’” (Aya 1979, p. 49). Aya (1979) adds that revolutions, rebellions, and lesser forms of coercive civilian conflict can be regarded as politics by other means. This requires a focus on the actual power balances and contention patterns between conflicting classes, parties, and interest groups. In other words, “. . . the political model seeks the genesis of revolutions and mass violence, as of war, in the competing interests and aspirations of embattled power groups. Like war, revolutions and collective violence arise from ongoing contests for resources, influence, and hegemony previously managed within existing diplomatic channels” (Aya 1979, p.  68). “Changes in the social structure and composition of a human setting, obviously enough, alter the makeup of contending parties (their identity, interests, characteristic grievances) as well as

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their organizational bases of collective action – hence, too, their tactical bargaining power vis-a-vis other groups” (Aya 1979, p. 76). Zagorin (1973) summarizes Huntington’s (1968) argument that with the advent of modernity, social and economic changes – such as urbanization, industrialization, and the spread of literacy, education, and communication facilities – promote political consciousness and mobilize new groups into politics that multiply political demands. Traditional societies that embark on modernization usually lack the political institutions and organizations to properly deal with such demands. “There is consequently an imbalance between socioeconomic growth and the political capacity to assimilate the new forces mobilized in the process. The result is instability, disorder, and, in certain cases, revolution. . . . In Huntington’s view, revolution is an aspect of modernization” (Zagorin 1973, p. 47). Zagorin (1973) also summarizes Johnson’s (1966) argument that revolutions can be attributed to some incompatibility or stress within the institutions and processes of society. Johnson (1966) starts with the model of a well-functioning social system in a state of equilibrium, where there is synchronization between different sectors of the system as change proceeds. Disequilibrium and dysfunction start the process of revolution. These may be the result of changes in both values and the environment, which may originate from sources internal or external to the system. Dysfunction occurs when there is a lack of integration between the sectors or subsystems of the social system, i.e., when the change overwhelms the adaptive processes of the system. The dysfunction needs to be dealt with by purposeful measures to reestablish equilibrium. Otherwise, it will spread leading to disorientation and protest within the society. Under such circumstances, the action of elites is crucial. If the elite rely on force, the result will be a power deflation. If the elite fail to reintegrate the system, the result will be a loss of authority. If the elite rely on intransigence, the result will be fatal. The combination of multiple dysfunction and elite inefficiency creates a revolutionary situation. In this situation, what most likely triggers a revolution is an accelerator, which can be an event such as a defeat in war or a similar incident that shakes army’s loyalty to a regime and signals revolutionaries their chance to gain power. “Johnson’s formula can therefore be summarized as follows: change plus disequilibrium plus multiple dysfunction plus elite failure plus an accelerator lead to revolution” (Zagorin 1973, pp. 49–50). Sanderson (2005) summarizes Tilly’s (1978) resource mobilization theory as follows. This theory is applicable not only to revolutions but also to all major forms of collective action or violence. According to this theory, collective action is based on the following four factors. (1) Interests: The extent to which the members of a group or population have the same kinds of needs and concerns as a result of their shared circumstances. (2) Organization: The extent to which members of a group or population share a sense of common identity and have built up a network of ties with one another that gives them some degree of unification. (3) Mobilization: the extent to which the members of a group or population control important resources that give them the capability of pursuing their common aims. (4) Opportunity: The extent to which the interests of the members of a group or population are related to its environment. Opportunity consists of three subcategories: (a) Power: The extent to


8  Understanding Revolution: A Comprehensive Approach

which the outcomes of a group’s or population’s interaction with other groups or populations are favorable to its interests (the interactions with governments involve political power). (b) Repression/Facilitation: The extent to which the costs of collective action to a contending group or population is high/low. (c) Opportunity/ Threat: The extent to which the possibilities are open to a contending group or population to press its claims. “Tilly’s theory of collective action basically says that collective action is likely when populations share interests, are well organized, control important resources, have sufficient power, are not repressed by governments or other groups, and have the opportunity to act” (Sanderson 2005, pp. 69–70). This section brought out the core idea of a general approach to conflict and revolution. It started with the constituent of individual behavior; then it moved to the discussion of conflict, conflict resolution, and finally, social revolution. Throughout this exposition, it was noted that this general approach is multidimensional, multidisciplinary, holistic, and dialectical. It was also shown that this general approach has the support of the extant literature.

7  C  onsistency with Alternative Ways of Dividing the Literature This section shows that the comprehensive approach to revolution, which is the subject of this chapter, is consistent with alternative ways of dividing the literature. In the following, this is shown by a series of excerpts from the literature. Eckstein (1965) classifies theories of internal wars according to the phases through which such wars pass. “They include problems about their preconditions, the way they can be effectively waged, the courses they tend to take, the outcomes they tend to have, and their long-run effects on society” (Eckstein 1965, p. 136). Fink (1968) divides the literature into “ . . . causes, course, and consequences of conflicts” (Fink 1968, p. 424). Kraminick (1972) recognizes four major approaches are used in the discussion of the causes of revolution. “For some observers revolutions are political in origin, for others economic, and for still others sociological or psychological. There are theories of revolution, then, from each of these four disciplinary perspectives” (Kraminick 1972, p. 35). Zagorin (1973) recognizes that there are three lines of inquiry: (1) historical, (2) comparative, and (3) theoretical (Zagorin 1973, pp. 28–29). Gurr (1973) recognizes that the nexus between revolution and social change may be approached in three ways: (1) definitional approach, (2) etiological approach, and (3) instrumental approach (Gurr 1973, p. 359). Cohan (1975) divides the literature into two main categories: (1) Marxist Theories of Revolution and (2) Functionalist Approach to Revolution, which consists of two subcategories: (a) theory of mass society and (b) psychological approaches to revolution (Cohan 1975, p. i).

8 Consistency with Alternative Theories of Causes of Revolution


Salert (1976) divides the literature as follows: (1) rational basis of revolutionary action, (2) psychological basis of revolutionary action, (3) revolution and the disequilibrated social system, and (4) Marx’s theory of revolution (Salert 1976, pp. vii-viii). Goldfrank (1979) divides theories that explain revolution into “. . . the unsystematic notions of laypersons and historians; aggregate social psychologies; natural history and social system conceptions; political conflict models; and Marxist hypotheses” (Goldfrank 1979, p. 138). Aya (1979) divides the literature into three main lines of thought: (1) outside-­ agitator model, (2) volcanic model, and (3) the political model (Aya 1979, p. 49). Goldstone (1980) divides the literature as follows: (1) the first generation, (2) the second generation, and (3) the third generation (Goldstone 1980, pp. 425–426). Goldstone (1982) divides the literature according to (1) the natural-history school, (2) the general-theory school, and (3) the structural-theory school (Goldstone 1982, pp. 188–189). Foran (1993) divides the literature into (1) the natural history of revolutions, (2) the general theories of revolution, (3) the structural models of revolution, and (4) the agency, culture, ideology, and social structural explanations of revolutions (Foran 1993, pp. 1–6). Sanderson (2005) lists the approaches to the study of revolution as follows: “(1) Natural history of revolution; (2) Social-psychological theories; (3) Marxian theories; (4) Resource mobilization theory; and (5) State-centered theories” (Sanderson 2005, p. 61). This section showed that the general approach to revolution, which is the subject of this paper, is consistent with alternative ways of dividing the literature. This was done by reference to a series of excerpts from the literature.

8  C  onsistency with Alternative Theories of Causes of Revolution This section shows that the comprehensive approach to revolution, which is the subject of this chapter, is consistent with alternative theories of causes of revolution.2 In the following, this is shown by a series of excerpts from the literature. Goldstone (1980) recognizes that the literature on the explanation of the nature and origins of revolutions has gone through three distinct phases or “generations.” The first generation, falling roughly between 1900 and 1940, and including the work of Sorokin (1925), Edwards (1927), Pettee (1938), and Brinton (1938), “. . . carefully

2  For reviews of literature, see: Aya (1979), Cohan (1975), Foran (1993), Freeman (1972), Goldstone (1980, 1982), Gurr (1973), Kraminick (1972), Roxborough (1989), Sanderson (2005), Stone (1966), and Zagorin (1973).


8  Understanding Revolution: A Comprehensive Approach

investigated the pattern of events found in revolutions, but lacked a broad theoretical perspective” (Goldstone 1980, p. 425). Goldstone (1980) notes that the second generation, falling roughly between 1940 and 1975, including the work of Davies (1962), Gurr (1970), Johnson (1966), Smelser (1962), Huntington (1968), and Tilly (1975), draw “. . . heavily on broad theories from psychology (cognitive psychology and frustration­aggression theory), sociology (structural-functionalist theory), and political science (the pluralist theory of interest-group competition”) (Goldstone 1980, p. 425). Therefore, the work of second generation may be divided into three classes, according to the three theoretical traditions on which they drew. 1. Work based on cognitive psychology and frustration-aggression theory: Theorists in this class include Davies (1962), Gurr (1970), and the Feierabends (1972). They believe that the roots of revolution are in the state of mind of the masses. That is, when the masses enter a cognitive state of “frustration” or “deprivation” relative to their set of goals. The sources of such frustration or relative deprivation “. . . included the long-term effects of modernization and urbanization (Feierabend and Feierabend), short-term economic reversals (Davies), and the systematic closure of political or economic opportunities to selected ethnic or economic groups (Gurr)” (Goldstone 1980, pp. 427–428). 2. Work based on sociological, structural-functionalist theory: Theorists in this class include Johnson (1966), Smelser (1962), Jessop (1972), and Hagopian (1974). They view societies as systems the smooth functioning of which requires the maintenance of equilibrium both (1) in the total flow of demands and resources between the system and its environment and (2) between society’s various subsystems – i.e., polity, economy, status, and culture (or value system). Otherwise, the society is in a state of “disequilibrium” (Hagopian) or “dysfunction” (Johnson), and it is unstable or prone to revolution. The sources of such disequilibrium or dysfunction are “. . . the uneven impact of technology and modernization on the demands and resources of the various subsystems, or exogenous changes in values  – e.g., the growth of a new religion or ideology (Johnson); changes in the distribution of power among the elites in the various subsystems (Jessop); or merely dis-synchronous changes in the various subsystems (Hagopian)” (Goldstone 1980, p. 428). 3. Work based on political science pluralist, interest group conflict theory: Theorists in this class include Tilly (1975), Huntington (1968), Amman (1962), and Stinchcombe (1965). They view events, including revolutions, as the outcome of conflict between competing interest groups. Revolution is treated as the “ultimate” stage of political conflict. That is, when the conflict between interest groups is escalated – by both the intensity of the conflict and the magnitude of resources involved – to the point where conflict mediation and resolution become useless and the political system is violently split apart. This results in “multiple sovereignty”; that is, two or more competing groups have sufficient resources – political, financial, organizational, and military – to establish “sovereignty” over a substantial political or military base, and consequently to seek to achieve their

9 Consistency with Alternative Theories of the Course of Revolution


goals by force. Among many patterns of events that may give rise to such ­conditions, Tilly “. . . noted that wars, economic modernization, urbanization, or changes in value systems or ideologies may all give rise to new interest groups, as well as change the balance of resources among competing group” (Goldstone 1980, pp. 428–429). Goldstone (1980) notes that the third generation, falling between 1975 and 1980, including the work of Paige (1975), Trimberger (1978), Skocpol (1979), and Eisenstadt (1978), emphasized the following five main points: “(1) the variable goals and structures of states; (2) the systematic intrusion, over time, of international political and economic pressures on the domestic political and economic organization of societies; (3) the structure of peasant communities; (4) the coherence or weakness of the armed forces; and (5) the variables affecting elite behavior” (Goldstone 1980, pp. 434–435). Goldstone (1982) notes that it is “. . . in societies where a powerful elite outside the state bureaucracy wields the resources to paralyze the state in times of conflict, and the army is weakened by outside allegiances, that full-scale revolutions are likely” (Goldstone 1982, pp. 195–196). In addition “. . . a revolution only occurs through the conjunction of such opposition with widespread popular uprisings” (Goldstone 1982, p. 197). And “. . . popular uprisings grow from specific grievances that threaten the livelihood of peasants and workers” (Goldstone 1982, p. 200). Foran (1993) notes that the fourth generation, falling between 1980 and the present, including the work of Dix (1984), Scott (1990), Calhoun (1988), Taylor (1989), Foran (1991), and Farhi (1990), follow a new approach that uses conjunctural models involving economy, polity, and culture and seek to explain dynamics and outcomes with a new flexibility. Theorists increasingly search for models that are complex and multicausal such that they relate structure and agency in their explanatory principles. They are interested in “. . . careful comparative work on diverse cases, conducted with awareness of current theoretical controversies. In this respect, theories of revolution and conjunctural models of revolution become inseparable: history infuses theory, and the models arrived at through inductive case study provide new theoretical leads” (Foran 1993, pp. 16–17). This section showed that the comprehensive approach to revolution, which is the subject of this chapter, is consistent with alternative theories of causes of revolution. This was done by reference to a series of excerpts from the literature.

9  C  onsistency with Alternative Theories of the Course of Revolution This section shows that the comprehensive approach to revolution, which is the subject of this chapter, is consistent with alternative theories of the course of revolution. In the following, this is shown by a series of excerpts from the literature.


8  Understanding Revolution: A Comprehensive Approach

Goldstone (1982) notes that in the 1920s and 1930s, a number of historians and sociologists  – most prominently Edwards (1927), Pettee (1938), and Brinton (1938) – surveyed the most famous revolutions and succeeded in identifying common stages and patterns in the development of revolution, as follows: 1. Prior to a great revolution, the bulk of the “intellectuals”  – journalists, poets, playwrights, essayists, teachers, members of the clergy, lawyers, and trained members of the bureaucracy – cease to support the regime, writing condemnations and demanding major reforms. 2. Just prior to the fall of the old regime, the state attempts to meet its sharpest criticism by undertaking major reforms. 3. The actual fall of the regime begins with an acute political crisis brought on by the government’s inability to deal with some economic, military, or political problem, rather than by the action of a revolutionary opposition. 4. Even where the revolutionary opposition to the old regime was once united, the collapse of the old regime eventually reveals the conflicts within the revolutionary opposition. 5. The first group to seize the reins of state are moderate reformers. 6. While the moderates seek to reconstruct rule on the basis of moderate reform, often employing organizational forms left over from the old regime, alternative, more radical centers of mass mobilization spring up with new forms of organization. 7. The great changes in the organization and ruling ideology of a society that follow successful revolutions occur not when the old regime first falls but when the radical, alternative, mass-­ mobilizing organizations succeed in supplanting the moderates. 8. The disorder brought by the revolution and the implementation of the radicals’ control usually result in the forced imposition of order by coercive rule. 9. The struggles between radicals and moderates, and between defenders of the revolution and external enemies, frequently allow military leaders to move from obscurity to commanding, even absolute, leadership. 10. The radical phase of the revolution eventually gives way to a phase of pragmatism and moderate pursuit of progress within the new status quo. These 10 propositions, the legacy of the natural historians of revolution, form a valuable guide to the process of revolution (Goldstone 1982, pp. 189–192).

Stone (1966) believes that Hopper (1950) provides the most convincing description of the social stages of revolution. Hopper (1950) describes four stages: 1. The first stage: Masses recognize that traditional values no longer satisfy their current aspirations. As a result, masses express their indiscriminate, uncoordinated unrest, and dissatisfaction. 2. The second stage: Masses begin to organize their opposition and define their goals. Intellectuals shift their allegiance from the incumbents to the dissidents. The “evil men” theory is advanced and then replaced by “evil institutions” theory. Two types of leaders emerge: the prophet, portraying the shape of the new utopia upon which men’s hopes can focus and the reformer, working methodically toward specific goals. 3. The third stage: This is the beginning of the revolution proper. Revolutionary motives, objectives, organization, and leader are all in place. The conflicts between the left wing and the right wing of the revolutionary movement become acute, and the radicals gain the upper hand from the moderates. 4. The fourth stage: The revolution is legalized. This is due to psychological exhaustion as the reforming drive burns itself out, moral enthusiasm wanes, and

10 Consistency with Alternative Theories of the Consequences of Revolution


economic distress increases. “The administrators take over, strong central government is established, and society is reconstructed on lines that embody substantial elements of the old system. The result falls far short of the utopian aspirations of the early leaders, but it succeeds in meshing aspirations with values by partly modifying both, and so allows the reconstruction of a firm social order” (Stone 1966, p. 175). This section showed that the comprehensive approach to revolution, which is the subject of this chapter, is consistent with alternative theories of the course of revolution. This was done by reference to a series of excerpts from the literature.

10  Consistency with Alternative Theories of the Consequences of Revolution This section shows that the comprehensive approach to revolution, which is the subject of this chapter, is consistent with alternative theories of the consequences of revolution. In the following, this is shown by a series of excerpts from the literature. Goldstone (1994) notes that many experts agree that full-scale revolutions have resulted in more centralized, and more powerful governments had existed before the revolution. However, experts debate whether revolutions have implemented the goals which were declared during the revolution. Some experts argue that in Latin America, among states with similar economies, those states that have experienced revolution generally have a more equitable allocation of land. Furthermore, Cuba has made greater progress in health care and education than states that did not experience revolution. However, countries that have experienced revolution are not better off in terms of income equality or economic growth compared to countries that have not experienced revolution. Experts also debate whether revolutions have succeeded in reducing differences in opportunity among citizens. It is also debatable whether revolutions enable nations to acquire democratic governments. In general, revolutions that have been violent have required military or authoritarian governments to restore order. “It appears that only where revolutions are relatively nonviolent, and leave no major counter-revolutionary threats or ethnic conflicts in their wake, is there hope for a democratic outcome to the revolutionary struggle” (Goldstone 1994, pp. 12–13). Sanderson (2005) emphasizes that accomplishments of revolutions – in terms of oppression reduction, exploitation reduction, and humane society creation  – are limited at best. Revolutions result in more bureaucratic and more oppressive states than their predecessors. Revolutions usually result in military dictatorships. This is largely due to the objective conditions of state building that revolutionaries face once they win. A successful revolutionary coalition is generally composed of groups with opposing interests and must rebuild the state. A strong tension and struggle between groups ensue over which part of the coalition will determine the future. The rebuilding of the state, regaining control, restoring order, and restructuring


8  Understanding Revolution: A Comprehensive Approach

society with many difficulties and contradictions emerge as paramount, such that the ideologies of revolutionaries become excessively strained beyond any expectation. Consequently, revolutionaries are led to accomplish very different tasks and construct quite different regimes from those they originally and ideologically intended. But, the states of the psychology of the leaders of revolutions play an important role as well. Leaders of revolutions are intensely committed individuals who intensely believe in their cause such that they find it extremely difficult to entertain alternative positions. “This is especially true of successful revolutionaries – that is, revolutionaries who have actually brought about a social revolution – because it takes extraordinary zeal and unswerving commitment to make a social revolution happen. Once the revolutions they led have occurred, they usually feel a strong need to suppress those with opposing views, even if they were an important part of a revolutionary coalition” (Sanderson 2005, pp. 139–141). This section showed that the comprehensive approach to revolution, which is the subject of this chapter, is consistent with alternative theories of the consequences of revolution. This was done by a series of excerpts from the literature.

11  Conclusion This chapter made a move toward a comprehensive understanding of revolution by transcending boundaries among academic disciplines as well as conceptual dichotomies such as objective-subjective, structure-agency, collective-individual, macro-­ micro, and conflict resolution-social revolution. This transcending move was made through the application of the concepts of multi-dimensionality, continuum, and dialectics. The chapter showed that this comprehensive approach is advocated in the literature because it transcends both disciplinary boundaries and conceptual dichotomies encountered in the literature.

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Cohan, A.S., (1975), Theories of Revolution: An Introduction, New York, New York: John Wiley and Sons, Inc. Converse, Elizabeth, (1968), “The War of All against All: A Review of the Journal of Conflict Resolution, 1957–1968,” Journal of Conflict Resolution, 12:4, December, 471–532. Coser, Lewis A., (1956), The Functions of Social Conflict, New York, New York: Free Press. Dahrendorf, Ralf, (1959), Class and Class Conflict in Industrial Society, Stanford, California: Stanford University Press. Davies, James Chowning, (1962), “Toward a Theory of Revolution,” American Sociological Review, XXVII, February, 5–19. Deutsch, Morton, (2000/2006), “Cooperation and Competition,” in Deutsch, Morton and Coleman, Peter T., (eds.), The Handbook of Conflict Resolution: Theory and Practice, San Francisco, California: Jossey-Bass Publishers, Chapter 1, pp. 21–40. Dix, Robert H., (1984), “Why Revolutions Succeed and Fail,” Polity, 16:3, 423–46. Dunn, John, (1972), Modern Revolutions: An Introduction to the Analysis of a Political Phenomenon, Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. Earle, Edward Mead, (ed.), (1943), Makers of Modern Strategy, Princeton, New Jersey. Eckstein, Harry, (1965), “On the Etiology of Internal Wars,” History and Theory, 4:2, 133–163. Eckstein, Harry, (1980), “Theoretical Approaches to Explaining Collective Political Violence,” in Gurr, Ted Robert, (ed.), Handbook of Political Conflict: Theory and Research, New York, New York: Free Press, Chapter 4, pp. 135–166. Editorial, (1957), “An Editorial,” Journal of Conflict Resolution, 1:1, March, 1–6. Edwards, Lyford P., (1927), The Natural History of Revolution, Chicago, Illinois: University of Chicago Press. Eisenstadt, S.N., (1978), Revolution and the Transformation of Societies: A Comparative Study of Civilizations, New York, New York: Free Press. Farhi, Farideh, (1990), States and Urban-Based Revolutions: Iran and Nicaragua, Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois Press. Feierabend, Ivo K. and Feierabend, Rosalind L., (1966), “Aggressive Behaviors within Polities, 1948-1962: A Cross National Study,” Journal of Conflict Resolution, 10, September, 249–71. Feierabend, Ivo K. and Feierabend, Rosalind L., (1972), “Systematic Conditions of Political Aggression: An Application of Frustration-Aggression Theory,” in Feierabend, Ivo K., Feierabend, Rosalind L., and Gurr, Ted Robert, (eds.), Anger, Violence, and Politics: Theories and Research, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 136–83. Fink, Clinton F., (1968), “Some Conceptual Difficulties in the Theory of Social Conflict,” Journal of Conflict Resolution, 12:4, December, 412–460. Fisher, Ronald J., (2000/2006), “Intergroup Conflict,” in Deutsch, Morton and Coleman, Peter T., (eds.), The Handbook of Conflict Resolution: Theory and Practice, San Francisco, California: Jossey-Bass Publishers, Chapter 8, pp. 166–184. Foran, John, (1991), “The Strengths and Weaknesses of Iran’s Populist Alliance: A Class Analysis of the Constitutional Revolution of 1905-1911,” Theory and Society, 20:6, 795–823. Foran, John, (1993), “Theories of Revolution Revisited: Toward a Fourth Generation,” Sociological Theory, 11:1, March, 1–20. Foran, John, (ed.), (1997a), Theorizing Revolutions, London, England: Routledge. Foran, John, (1997b), “Introduction,” in Foran, John, (ed.), Theorizing Revolutions, London, England: Routledge, pp. 1–8. Freeman, Michael, (1972), “Review Article: Theories of Revolution,” British Journal of Political Science, 2:3, July, 339–359. Goldfrank, Walter L., (1979), “Theories of Revolution and Revolution without Theory: The Case of Mexico,” Theory and Society, 7:1/2, January–March, 135–165. Goldstone, Jack A., (1980), “Theories of Revolution: The Third Generation,” World Politics, 32:3, April, 425–453. Goldstone, Jack A., (1982), “The Comparative and Historical Study of Revolutions,” Annual Review of Sociology, 8, 187–207.


8  Understanding Revolution: A Comprehensive Approach

Goldstone, Jack A., (1991), Revolution and Rebellion in the Early Modern World, Berkeley, California: University of California Press. Goldstone, Jack A., (1994), Revolutions: Theoretical, Comparative, and Historical Studies, Second Edition, New York, New York: Harcourt Brace College Publishing. Goodwin, Jeff, (1997), “State-Centered Approaches to Social Revolutions: Strengths and Limitations of a Theoretical Tradition,” in Foran, John, (ed.), Theorizing Revolutions, London, England: Routledge, Chapter 1, pp. 9–35. Gurr, Ted Robert, (1970), Why Men Rebel, Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. Gurr, Ted Robert, (1973), “The Revolution-Social-Change Nexus: Some Old Theories and New Hypotheses,” Comparative Politics, 5:3, April, 359–392. Gurr, Ted Robert, (1980), “Introduction,” in Gurr, Ted Robert, (ed.), Handbook of Political Conflict: Theory and Research, New York, New York: Free Press, pp. 1–16. Hagopian, Mark, (1974), The Phenomenon of Revolution, New York, New York: Dodd, Mead. Hopper, Rex D., (1950), “The Revolutionary Process,” Social Forces, XXVIII, March, 270–279. Huntington, Samuel P., (1968), Political Order in Changing Societies, New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press. Jessop, Bob, (1972), Social Order, Reform, and Revolution, New York, New York: Macmillan. Johnson, Chalmers, (1964), Revolution and the Social System, Stanford, California: Stanford University Press. Johnson, Chalmers, (1966), Revolutionary Change, Boston, Massachusetts: Little, Brown and Company. Kraminick, Isaac, (1972), “Reflections on Revolution: Definition and Explanation in Recent Scholarship,” History and Theory, 11:1, 26–63. Lasch, Christopher, (1971), “Epilogue,” in Aya, Roderick and Miller, Norman, (eds.), The New American Revolution, New York, New York. Lasswell, Harold and Kaplan, Abraham, (1950), Power and Society: A Framework for Political Inquiry, New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press. Mack, Raymond W. and Snyder, Richard C., (1957), “The Analysis of Social Conflict: Toward an Overview and Synthesis,” Journal of Conflict Resolution, 1:2, June, 212–248. Marx, Karl, (1977), Selected Writings, edited by David McLellan, Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. Moore, Barrington, (1966), Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World, Boston, Massachusetts: Beacon Press. Moore, Wilbert Ellis, (1963), Social Change, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc. Owens, Timothy J., Robinson, Dawn T., and Smith-Lovin, Lynn, 2010, “Three Faces of Identity,” Annual Review of Sociology, 36, 477–499. Paige, Jeffrey M., (1975), Agrarian Revolution: Social Movements and Export Agriculture in the Underdeveloped World, New York, New York: Free Press. Pettee, George S., (1938), The Process of Revolution, New York, New York: Harper. Rex, John, (1961), Key Problems of Sociological Theory, London, England: Routledge and Kegan Paul. Rinde, Erik and Rokkan, Stein, (1959), “Toward an International Program of Research on the Handling of Conflicts: Introduction,” Journal of Conflict Resolution, 3:1, March, 1–5. Roxborough, Ian, (1989), “Theories of Revolution: The Evidence from Latin America,” London School of Economics Quarterly, 3:2, 99–121. Sanderson, Stephen K., (2005), Revolutions: A Worldwide Introduction to Political and Social Change, Boulder, Colorado: Paradigm Publishers. Salert, Barbara, (1976), Revolution and Revolutionaries: Four Theories, New  York, New  York: Elsevier Scientific Publishing Co., Inc. Schelling, Thomas C., (1960), The Strategy of Conflict, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. Scott, James C., (1990), Domination and the Arts of Resistance: Hidden Transcripts, New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press.



Selbin, Eric, (1997), “Revolution in the Real World: Bringing Agency Back In,” in Foran, John, (ed.), Theorizing Revolutions, London, England: Routledge, Chapter 5, pp. 118–132. Skocpol, Theda, (1979), States and Social Revolutions: A Comparative Analysis of France, Russia, and China, Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. Skocpol, Theda, (1982), “Rentier State and Shi’a Islam in the Iranian Revolution,” (including comments by Nikki Keddie, Eqbal Ahmad, and Walter Goldfrank), Theory and Society, 11:3, 265–303. Smelser, Niel J., (1962), Theory of Collective Behavior, New York, New York: Free Press. Sorokin, Pitrim A., (1925), The Sociology of Revolution, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Lippincott. Stinchcombe, Arthur L., (1965), “Stratification among Organizations and the Sociology of Revolution,” in March, James, (ed.), Handbook of Organizations, Chicago, Illinois: Rand McNally, 169–80. Stone, Lawrence, (1966), “Theories of Revolution,” World Politics, 18:2, January, 159–176. Stryker, Sheldon, 2007, “Identity Theory and Personality Theory: Mutual Relevance,” Journal of Personality, 75:6, December, 1083–1102. Stryker, Sheldon and Burke, Peter J., 2000, “The Past, Present, and Future of Identity Theory,” Social Psychology Quarterly, 63:4, December, 284–297. Taylor, Michael, (1989), “Structure, Culture and Action in the Explanation of Social Change,” Politics and Society, 17:2, 115–62. Tilly, Charles, (1975), “Revolutions and Collective Violence,” in Greenstein, Fred and Polsby, Nelson, (eds.), Handbook of Political Science, III, Reading, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley, 483–555. Tilly, Charles, (1978), From Mobilization to Revolution, Reading, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley. Tilly, Charles, (1986), The Contentious French, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. Tilly, Charles, (1993), European Revolutions, 1492–1992, Oxford, England: Blackwell. Trimberger, Kay Ellen, (1978), Revolution from Above: Military Bureaucrats and Development in Japan, Turkey, Egypt, and Peru, New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Books. Trotsky, Leon, (1930, 1959), The Russian Revolution: The Overthrow of Tzarism and the Triumph of the Soviets, selected and edited by F.W. Dupree, Garden City, New York: Doubleday. Wickham-Crowley, Timothy P., (1997), “Structural Theories of Revolutions,” in Foran, John, (ed.), Theorizing Revolutions, London, England: Routledge, Chapter 2, pp. 36–70. Willer, David and Zollschan, George K., (1964), “Prolegomenon to a Theory of Revolutions,” in Willer, David and Zollschan, George K., (eds.), Social Change, Boston, Massachusetts: Houghton Mifflin Company, Chapter 5, pp. 125–151. Wright, Q., (1951), “The Nature of Conflict,” Western Political Quarterly, 4:2, June, 193–209. Wright, Q., (1965), “The Escalation of International Conflicts,” Journal of Conflict Resolution, 9:4, December, 434–449. Zagorin, Perez, (1973), “Theories of Revolution in Contemporary Historiography,” Political Science Quarterly, 88:1, March, 23–52.

Chapter 9


Social theory can usefully be conceived in terms of four key paradigms: f­ unctionalist, interpretive, radical humanist, and radical structuralist. The four paradigms are founded upon different assumptions about the nature of social science and the nature of society. Each generates theories, concepts, and analytical tools which are different from those of other paradigms. All theories are based on a philosophy of science and a theory of society. Many theorists appear to be unaware of, or ignore, the assumptions underlying these philosophies. They emphasize only some aspects of the phenomenon and ignore others. Unless they bring out the basic philosophical assumptions of the theories, their analysis can be misleading, since by emphasizing differences between theories they imply diversity in approach. While there appear to be different kinds of theories, they are founded on a certain philosophy, worldview, or paradigm. This becomes evident when these theories are related to the wider background of social theory. The functionalist paradigm has provided the framework for current mainstream theorists and accounts for the largest proportion of theory and research in their academic fields. In order to understand a new paradigm, theorists should be fully aware of assumptions upon which their own paradigm is based. Moreover, to understand a new paradigm, one has to explore it from within, since the concepts in one paradigm cannot easily be interpreted in terms of those of another. No attempt should be made to criticize or evaluate a paradigm from the outside. This is self-defeating since it is based on a separate paradigm. All four paradigms can be easily criticized and ruined in this way. These four paradigms are of paramount importance to any scientist, because the process of learning about a favored paradigm is also the process of learning what that paradigm is not. The knowledge of paradigms makes scientists aware of the boundaries within which they approach their subject. Each of the four paradigms implies a different way of social theorizing.

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020 K. Ardalan, Understanding Revolution, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-47591-8_9



9 Conclusion

Scientists often approach their subject from a frame of reference based upon assumptions that are taken for granted. Since these assumptions are continually affirmed and reinforced, they remain not only unquestioned but also beyond conscious awareness. In this way, most researchers intend to favor the functionalist paradigm. The partial nature of this view only becomes apparent when the researcher exposes basic assumptions to the challenge of alternative ways of seeing and starts to appreciate these alternatives in their own terms. To do this, one has to explore other paradigms from within, since the concepts in one paradigm cannot easily be interpreted in terms of those of another. The diversity of social research possibilities referred to in this book is vast. While each paradigm advocates a research strategy that is logically coherent, in terms of underlying assumptions, these vary from paradigm to paradigm. The phenomenon to be researched can be conceptualized and studied in many different ways, each generating distinctive kinds of insight and understanding. There are many different ways of studying the same social phenomenon, and given that the insights generated by any one approach are at best partial and incomplete, the social researcher can gain much by reflecting on the nature and merits of different approaches. It is clear that social scientists, like other generators of knowledge, deal with the realization of possible types of knowledge, which are connected with the particular paradigm adopted. The mainstream social theories are based upon the functionalist paradigm; and, for the most part, social theorists are not always entirely aware of the traditions to which they belong. This book recommends a serious conscious thinking about the social philosophy upon which social theory is based and of the alternative avenues for development. Mainstream social theorist can gain much by exploiting the new perspectives coming from the other paradigms. An understanding of different paradigms leads to a better understanding of the multifaceted nature of social phenomenon. Although a researcher may decide to conduct research from the point of view of a certain paradigm, an understanding of the nature of other paradigms leads to a better understanding of what one is doing. Paradigm diversity is based on the idea that more than one theoretical construction can be placed upon a given collection of data. In other words, any single theory, research method, or particular empirical study is incapable of explaining the nature of reality in all of its complexities. It is possible to establish exact solutions to problems if one defines the boundary and domain of reality. Functionalist research, through its research approach, defines an area in which objectivity and truth can be found. Any change in the research approach, or any change in the area of applicability, would tend to result in the breakdown of such objectivity and truth. The knowledge generated through functionalist research relates to certain aspects of the phenomenon under consideration. Recognition of the existence of the phenomenon beyond that dictated by the research approach results in the recognition of the limitations of the knowledge generated within the confines of that approach.

9 Conclusion


It is almost impossible to find foundational solution to the problem of creating specific kind of knowledge. Researchers are encouraged to explore what is possible by identifying untapped possibilities. By comparing a favored research approach in relation to others, the nature, strengths, and limitations of the favored approach become evident. By understanding what others do, researchers are able to understand what they are not doing. This leads to the development and refinement of the favored research approach. The concern is not about deciding which research approach is best, or with substituting one for another. The concern is about the merits of diversity, which seeks to enrich research rather than constrain it, through a search for an optimum way of doing diverse research. There is no unique evaluative perspective for assessing knowledge generated by different research approaches. Therefore, it becomes necessary to get beyond the idea that knowledge is foundational and can be evaluated in an absolute way. Different research approaches provide different interpretations of a phenomenon and understand the phenomenon in a particular way. Some may be supporting a traditional view, others saying something new. In this way, knowledge is treated as being tentative rather than absolute. All research approaches have something to contribute. The interaction among them may lead to synthesis, compromise, consensus, transformation, polarization, or simply clarification and improved understanding of differences. Such interaction, which is based on differences of viewpoints, is not concerned with reaching consensus or an end point that establishes a foundational truth. On the contrary, it is concerned with learning from the process itself and encouraging the interaction to continue so long as disagreement lasts. Likewise, it is not concerned with producing uniformity, but promoting improved diversity. Paradigm diversity is based on the idea that research is a creative process and that there are many ways of doing research. This approach leads to the development of knowledge in many different, and sometimes contradictory, directions such that new ways of knowing will emerge. There can be no objective criteria for choosing between alternative perspectives. The number of ways of generating new knowledge is bounded only by the ingenuity of researchers in inventing new approaches. The functionalist paradigm regards research as a technical activity and depersonalizes the research process. It removes responsibility from the researcher and reduces him or her to an agent engaged in what the institutionalized research demands. Paradigm diversity reorients the role of the researchers and places responsibility for the conduct and consequences of research directly with them. Researchers examine the nature of their activity to choose an appropriate approach and develop a capacity to observe and question what they are doing and take responsibility for making intelligent choices which are open to realize the many potential types of knowledge. To implement paradigm diversity, some fundamental changes need to be directed to the way research is presently managed. In other words, paradigm diversity implies and requires changes. The most fundamental change is to understand the multifaceted nature of society as a phenomenon.


9 Conclusion

An understanding of paradigms provides a valuable means for exploring the nature of the phenomenon being investigated. Furthermore, an understanding of other paradigms provides an invaluable basis for recognizing what one is doing. It is interesting to note that this recommendation is consistent with the four paradigms: 1. It increases efficiency in research: This is because diversity in the research approach prevents or delays reaching the point of diminishing marginal return. Therefore, the recommendation is consistent with the functionalist paradigm, which emphasizes purposive rationality and the benefit of diversification. 2. It advocates diversity in research approach: This is consistent with the interpretive paradigm, which emphasizes shared multiple realities. 3. It leads to the realization of researchers’ full potentials: This is consistent with the radical humanist paradigm, which emphasizes human beings’ emancipation from the structures which limit their potential for development. 4. It enhances class awareness: This is consistent with the radical structuralist paradigm, which emphasizes class struggle. Social knowledge is ultimately a product of the researcher’s paradigmatic approach to this multifaceted phenomenon. Viewed from this angle, the pursuit of social knowledge is seen as much an ethical, moral, ideological, and political activity as a technical one. Mainstream theorist can gain much from the contributions of the other paradigms.