The objective of this dissertation is to analyze the causes of the 1979 Iranian Revolution, and propose an interactive model of revolution based on that experience that may have general theoretical implications. This analysis concentrates on two important questions. First, what factors led to the emergence of a pre-revolutionary society in Iran? And second, what variables were necessary to mobilize this revolutionary potential? This study found that both of the above conditions existed in Iran concurrently; a pre-revolutionary society had developed, and a highly organized contending elite, armed with a charismatic leadership and appealing ideology, and with access to mass scale communications network, had evolved with the intention to lead a revolution. Without the juxtaposition of these two factors the revolution would not have occurred. The emergence of a pre-revolutionary society in Iran can best be explained by the theory of relative deprivation which claims that revolutions are most likely to occur when the gap between people's expectations and the system's capability to meet those expectations widens until it becomes intolerable; in particular, progressive deprivation (J-curve) occurs when a prolonged period of prosperity is suddenly reversed whereby people's expectations continue to climb while capabilities fall; expectations and capabilities of social groups are examined with regard to their economic position, political power, and status/prestige. But, an effective group must exist that wants to replace the polity, those currently in power, and has the capability to mobilize resources, normative, utilitarian coercive, etc., toward that objective. In Iran, a pre-revolutionary society had evolved because the major groups were experiencing relative deprivation in one form or another. For example, with regard to economic position, most groups experienced a progressive deprivation when the sudden economic growth in 1973-74 resulting from the oil price hikes, reversed in 1975 as marked by the anti-profiteering campaign. The main groups in Iran are: the clergy, bazaaris, rural-urban migrants, industrial workers, intellectuals, and students. Against that background, the Shi'ite establishment mobilized its vast array of resources and powerful network, including more than 80,000 religious centers, 200,000 clerics, an appealing ideology, a charismatic leadership, and a strong financial base to bring about the revolution.
Thesis (Ph.D. in International Relations)--Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Pennsylvania, 1987. Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 48-03, Section: A, page: 0738.