Social Change in Iran

An Eyewitness Account of Dissent, Defiance, and New Movements for Rights

By Behzad Yaghmaian

Subjects: Democratization
Paperback : 9780791452127, 281 pages, January 2002
Hardcover : 9780791452110, 281 pages, January 2002

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Table of contents



Iran: An Eyewitness Account and Study of Social Change

1. Emerging Social Movements, Victories, and Setbacks in the Battle for Rights

2. State and the Socialization of Violence: A Narrative of Everyday Life

3. Children of the Islamic Republic—Part I The Rise of a New Social Movement for Joy: A Narrative

4. Children of the Islamic Republic—Part II Student Movement: Transcendence from a Movement against Rights to a Movement for Rights

5. Children of the Islamic Republic—Part III The Politicization of the Movement for Joy: A Narrative of a New Student Movement in the Making

6. A Movement for a Free Press—The Vanguard of the Battle for Rights and Civil Society

7. State, Economy, and Civil Society—Part I Wage Earners' Response to Economic Catastrophe

8. State, Economy, and Civil Society—Part II Economic Decline, Divided State, and Policy Retreat: The Triumph of Neoliberalism

9. Oil, International Division of Labor, and the Crisis of the Iranian Economy: A Political Economy Analysis

10. The Great Debate: A Republic or Velayat-e Faghih?






A multi-level insider's look at the changes transforming contemporary Iran.


Social Change in Iran is an inquiry into the recent changes in Iran, blending scholarly analysis, eyewitness accounts, and the author's personal experiences. It tells the stories of everyday people, be it young men and women challenging the cultural and social mandates of the Islamic Republic, or workers toiling at multiple jobs to overcome harsh economic realities. This passionate homage to the people of Iran as told by a native is a glimpse into the human feelings and aspirations of a people subjected to varying forms of violence at home and widespread misunderstanding abroad. At the same time Yaghmaian provides an informed analysis of the widening political divide within the state, and the emergence of a movement for reform, both of which have shaken the seemingly indisputable foundations of the Islamic Republic.

Behzad Yaghmaian is Associate Professor of Economics at Ramapo College.


"…this book is a must read, indeed an eye opener, for all, including those misguided left-leaning (populist) activists who regrettably believe that the government of the Islamic Republic in Iran is anti-imperialist and thus worthy of their moral support. Bon appétit!" — Review of Radical Political Economics

"Yaghmaian's book is a captivating eyewitness account, told by a knowledgeable insider … While explaining the many shortcomings of the revolution, the author makes no false pretense to hold the answers … Instead, he focuses on everyday struggles and lets the voices of ordinary citizens speak … This is a book that deserves to be widely read. " — Voluntas: International Journal of Voluntary and Non-Profit Organizations

"Social Change in Iran is quite unique and modern. It explains the pace of rapidly changing events taking place in Iran, by sifting through the concerns, hopes, and dreams of a people. This book makes a powerful and passionate statement that at the same time enables the reader to recognize the key players and events shaping the new Iranian polity and society. " — Henri Lustiger-Thaler, coeditor of Artful Practices: The Political Economy of Everyday Life

"Yaghmaian's work is timely and lively, dealing with a significant topic that has not yet been analyzed in English—the new generation in Iran. " — Ervand Abrahamian, author of Tortured Confessions: Prisons and Public Recantations in Modern Iran