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From Religious Dispute to Revolution

Michael M. J. Fischer

Publication Year: 2003

Unlike much of the instant analysis that appeared at the time of the Iranian revolution, Iran: From Religious Dispute to Revolution is based upon extensive fieldwork carried out in Iran. Michael M. J. Fischer draws upon his rich experience with the mullahs and their students in the holy city of Qum, composing a picture of Iranian society from the inside—the lives of ordinary people, the way that each class interprets Islam, and the role of religion and religious education in the culture. Fischer’s book, with its new introduction updating arguments for the post-Revolutionary period, brings a dynamic view of a society undergoing metamorphosis, which remains fundamental to understanding Iranian society in the early twenty-first century.

Published by: University of Wisconsin Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. vii-xi

ONE OF THE GREA T PUZZLES for anthropologists and philosophers is how and why culture and common sense are differently constituted in different historical times and in different societies. Today in Iran both culture and common sense are undergoing change. This book examines that transformation, particularly the part...

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After Twenty Years: Introduction to the 2003 edition

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pp. xii-xxxviii

IN AT LEAST THREE WAYS, Iran continues to provide a major example and challenge for building social and political theory: in theories about the media, in theories about revolution and structural social change, and in theories about the relation between education systems and civil society....

Contents, Illustrations, Figures, Tables, Chronology ofSignificant Dynasties, Calendars [Includes Image Plate]

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pp. xxix-xliv

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1. Culture, History, and Politics

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pp. 1-11

AN ANTHROPOLOGIST is as much a character in the arena of research as the people from whom he tries to learn. Recognizing this fact is important to readers of an anthropological analysis because of its bearing on the objectivity, validity, and comprehensiveness of the description from which the analysis proceeds. More important,...

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2. Rise and Decline of the Madrasa

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pp. 12-60

THE MADRASA SCHOOLS are a form of education well known to Western tradition, for they are essentially the same as the Jewish yeshiva and the Catholic medieval studium. The dynamics of the growth of all three examples of what I call "the scriptural school" are the same and are perhaps most clearly illustrated by the development of...

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3. Madrasa: Style and Substance

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pp. 61-103

THE PEDAGOGICAL IDEAL of the madrasa is posed by its members as a criticism of the secular education system, which is spreading at the expense of the madrasa system. The madrasas have been deteriorating in quality and scope of curriculum despite efforts to stop the deterioration and to accommodate to modern demands. But...

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4. Qum: Arena of Conflict

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pp. 104-135

QUM IS THE RELIGIOUS HEARTof Shi'ite Iran; what happens in Qum has national importance. Insofar as Iran has a fairly centralized political structure, the social pressures operating in Qum are not very different from those operating elsewhere. In these two senses Qum's unique characteristics provide both a kind of local...

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5. Discourse and Mimesis: Shi'ism in Everyday Life

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pp. 136-180

THE NOTION OF RELIGIOUS styles needs to be pursued in several directions: the degree to which there is class-linked patterning, the degree to which the discourses of the class-linked styles are hermetic and exclude one another, and the dilemma of individuals caught at points where two styles interact and contradict each other. A...

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6. The Revolutionary Movement of 1977-1979

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pp. 181-231

ON JANUARY 16,1979, the shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, was forced from throne and country for the second time. He left behind a government headed by an opponent, Dr. Shapur Bakhtiar, much as in 1953 he had fled the country leaving Dr. Mohammad Mosaddegh in charge. On February 1, Ayatullah Sayyid Ruhollah Musavi Khomeyni triumphantly returned to Iran after sixteen years of...

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Epilogue: Muharram 1400/1979

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pp. 232-244

MUHARRAM 1400/1979 perhaps should have been a celebration of deliverance from the shah and shifting to an active mood of construction rather than protest. Instead, the shah's entry into the United States for medical treatment virtually on the eve of Muharram, as the crisis over the constitutional referendum was building, reactivated the Karbala paradigm and touched off a symbolic protest...


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pp. 247-263


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pp. 265-287


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pp. 289-292


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pp. 293-303


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pp. 305-314

E-ISBN-13: 9780299184735
Print-ISBN-13: 9780299184742

Publication Year: 2003