Land of Revolutions By M. Reza Fariborz Hamzeh’ee
During the last few decades, the sociology of social movements has emerged as a very flourishing branch of sociology. There has been a great deal of writing, both conceptual and empirical on the theme of social movements. The increasing interest of sociologists in the subject of social movements cannot be dismissed simply as accidental. In the contemporary period, social movements have become a very important part of social reality in different societies. Sociologists have always been deeply interested in understanding not only statics, but also dynamics of human society. Dynamics of any society cannot be comprehended properly (neither historically nor contemporary), without analyzing the various processes that have contributed to these dynamics. Social movement can be considered as one of these important processes.
Land of Revolutions
Iranian society can be counted among the societies which have frequently experienced social movements.
A careful look at Iranian history shows that the number of movements, revolts or revolutions which have emerged in this society is relatively quite large. Nevertheless the study of social movements in Iran is in its infancy. Therefore systematic sociological study of this subject is relatively scarce.
It is difficult to begin a systematic investigation without having a clear picture of the earlier movement, as well as a picture of historical and socio-economic background of such societies.
Therefore in order to be able to understand the contemporary Iranian movements, it is necessary at least to have some sociological idea about those movements in the past centuries.
On the basis of such assumption, it has been attempted here to begin with this sociological and typological study of Iranian social movements, from beginning to twentieth century. The aim of this typological study is to formulate typologies with the hope to achieve greater conceptual and epistemological clarification, as well as to obtain more knowledge of the subject under study.
Typological approach has several limitations. This especially is so where many artificial “types”, “classes” and “sub-classes” are created. Here it is tried to avoid or reduce this problem by respecting the natural divisions existing between different movements. It is however perhaps rewarding if analytical significance of typological approach is taken into consideration. In addition to the typological classification of Iranian movements it is attempted to consider socio-historical and other aspects of the movements within the limits of the existing material sources. It is hoped that through these complementary methods, to some extend a clear picture of the movements is achieved.