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Middle East Today

Political Participation in Iran from Khatami to the Green Movement

Authors: Rivetti, Paola

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  • Puts forward the notion of a ‘reformist subject’ to highlight the complexity of elite-non-elite relations in the context of political change and aspirations for political change
  • Covers the emergence of reformism and a front of reformists (eslahtalaban) committed to democratizing how power is exercised in Iran
  • Offers an innovative perspective on Iranian reformism by engaging in a Foucauldian analysis of the reformist project of transforming the society and the state
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About this book

This book examines the unintended consequences of top-down reforms in Iran, analysing how the Iranian reformist governments (1997–2005) sought to utilise gradual reforms to control independent activism, and how citizens responded to such a disciplinary action. While the governments successfully ‘set the field’ of permitted political participation, part of the civil society that took shape was unexpectedly independent. Despite being a minority, independent activists were not marginal: without them, in fact, the Green Movement of 2009 would not have taken shape. Building on in-depth empirical analysis, the author explains how autonomous activism forms and survives in a semi-authoritarian country. The book contributes to the debate about the implications of elite-led reforms for social reproduction, offering an innovative interpretation and an original analysis of social movements from a political science perspective.

About the authors

Paola Rivetti is Assistant Professor in Politics and International Relations in the School of Law and Government at Dublin City University, Ireland.

Reviews

“Paola Rivetti’s fascinating study of the potential for revolutionary change in Iran links social movement studies theory to political science debates about elite-led liberalization and the potential for meaningful institutional reforms. While examining how government officials seek to utilize gradual reforms to deflate the revolutionary potential of challengers, Rivetti brings forth the agency of citizens and how they have independently imagined a trajectory for participation beyond what the regime intended. Based on years of field research with activists and civil society groups, this book offers a careful look at how regime-citizen relations have evolved and how even micro shifts in those relations—changes that seem insignificant in the near term—can create the potential for greater challenges down the road.” (Jillian Schwedler, Hunter College & The Graduate Center, City University of New York)

“This is a groundbreaking book on the complex internal dynamics of Iranian politics that led to the emergence of a reformist movement and the election of Khatami as president. Although reformist politics in Iran has proven its resilience during the Green Movement  protests and subsequent elections, there are clear rifts among the grassroots whose agendas are diverging from the established formal leaders. Rather than focusing exclusively on formal institutions and ruling political elites, as most academic writings on Iran tend to do, this book questions how and why grassroots organizers and activists have managed to create and maintain autonomous political spaces of participation despite relentless state repression and attempts by reformist elites to co-opt and control their momentum. This is a major contribution to understanding how social movements create spaces of autonomy and popular counterpower from below.” (Kaveh Ehsani, DePaul University)

“In this remarkable book, Paola Rivetti sheds a light on how authoritarian reforms have produced an independent activist milieu in Iran. During years of immersion in the field, she has acquired an intimate knowledge of the activists’ life stories, their fears and hopes. Through grounded analysis and patient observation, this book transforms our understanding of the interaction between institutional politics and political contestation in authoritarian contexts.” (Frédéric Vairel, University of Ottawa)

Table of contents (6 chapters)

Table of contents (6 chapters)

Buy this book

eBook 49,99 €
price for India (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-030-32201-4
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover 59,99 €
price for India (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-030-32200-7
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Immediate ebook access, if available*, with your print order
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.

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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Political Participation in Iran from Khatami to the Green Movement
Authors
Series Title
Middle East Today
Copyright
2020
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG
eBook ISBN
978-3-030-32201-4
DOI
10.1007/978-3-030-32201-4
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-030-32200-7
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XXIII, 202
Topics

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