The Secularization of Iran: a Doomed Failure?: The New Middle Class and the Making of Modern Iran

This book, which is based on primary and secondary textual sources as well as personal field work and personal interviews, highlights the ongoing contribution of the new middle class in the making of modern Iran. It studies the main causes of their discontent against secular modernizing states, and the reasons behind the failure of secular politics under the Pahlavis; and emphasizes the revival of secular ideas and politics in post-revolutionary Iran. Despite the contribution of the secular new middle class in introducing modern ideas and demands, and their salient role in opposition politics throughout twentieth century Iran they failed to gain the leadership of the 1979 revolution. The result was the defeat of secular ideologies by a modernized and radicalized Shi'ite doctrine. The book examines significant social, cultural, and political outcomes of the revolution, arguing that the failure of political Islam to respond to societal demands has led to the revitalization of debates on Western modernity. The increasing support of the civil society for these intellectual endeavors which attempt to secularize Islam and reconcile Islam with democracy shows that the failure of secularism was the outcome of temporary cicumstances.