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The short-term society: A study in the problems of long-term political and economic development in Iran

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Abstract

Iran was a short-term society in contrast to Europe's long-term society.' It was a society in which change - even important and fundamental change tended to be a short-term phenomenon. This was precisely due to the absence of an established and inviolable legal framework which would guarantee long-term continuity. Over any short period of time, there could be notable military, administrative and property-owning classes, but their composition would not remain the same beyond one or two generations, unlike traditional European aristocracies, even merchant classes. In Iran, property and social positions were short term, precisely because they were regarded as personal privileges rather than inherited and inviolable social rights. The situation of those who possessed rank and property - except in very rare examples - was not the result of long-term inheritance (say, beyond two generations before) and they did not expect their heirs to continue in the same positions as a matter of course. The heirs could do so only if they managed to establish themselves on their own merits - merits being the personal traits necessary for success within the given social context. There was thus a high degree of social mobility, unthinkable in medieval and much of modem European history. This did not exclude the position of the shah himself, since legitimacy and the right of succession were nearly always subject to serious challenge, even rebellion.2 The most visible example of the short-term nature of Iranian society is the habit of declaring a building - especially a residential building - as a 'pick-axe building' (sakhteman-e kolangi). Most of these buildings are no more than 30 (even 20) years old, and they are normally sound in foundation and structure. In a few cases they may be run down and in need of renovation, but the feature that results in their condemnation as such, and incidentally wipes off the value of the structure and only leaves the price of their site, is that their architecture and/or interior design is unfashionable according to the latest forms, concepts or whims. Thus, rather than build a

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... Answering these will contribute to another broad question regarding their durability, in which how they lived for more than 140 years. Considering the controversial theory of Katouzian (2004), which described Iran as "The Short-Term Society", due the lack of durability in social institutions throughout the history, the research seeks benefit from the case of the Drapers lessons to see by which strategies and in a which context, the Drapers could exceptionally live long in a short-term society. ...
... Katouzian, who has written and discussed that Iran is a "short-term" society, believes; lack of legal frameworks to preserve accumulation is one of the reasons behind the discontinuity in Iran, which itself a reason for lack of development in the country (Katouzian 2004). Nevertheless, controversial theory of Katouzian can be challenged by the formation of institutions like the Drapers' Hey'at. ...
Thesis
Tehran Bazaar has been the most influential marketplace in Iran, over the last two hundred years, since Tehran became the capital of the country. The Bazaar has been a significant socio-political agent in Iranian society. Nevertheless, less attention has been given to its internal atmosphere, where the bazaaris, have tried to conserve their traditions and preserve their heritage. One of these heritages are “hey’ats”, religious formations for holding mourning sessions in Muharram month, as a ritual in Shi’a Islam. “Hey’ats” give the guilds a sense of collective identity, they represent them, and also build a shared heritage for them. The Drapers’ Guild was the first guild in Tehran Bazaar, founding a hey’at. They founded this hey’at in 1883 and named it “the Drapers’ Hey’at”. After the Islamic Revolution of 1979, the Drapers faced difficulties preserving their heritage. They were forced to displace the Mirza Mousa Mosque in the Bazaar. The Mosque was their center for holding religious sessions and was publicly known as “the Drapers’ Mosque”. Since they were attached to the Mosque, their displacement was perceived a loss of heritage. Later, they decided to build a new home, “the Drapers’ Hosseinieh”. They decided to implement the interior design of their lost Mosque in the new place. This strategy enabled them overcome “the traumatic experience of displacement and heritage loss.” Also, to safeguard their new place, they legally registered their hey’at as an institution, and they wrote a constitution for it. The attempts for modernization, led them to develop beneficiary activities, as well. In this research, a qualitative approach is applied, benefiting from multiple methodologies, including; ethnography, secondary sources, and visual methods. The researcher has attempted to outline the story of the Drapers in preserving their heritage. This study hopefully would be useful for similar traditional organizations, showing how continuity and heritage preservation are possible to achieve for communities having experienced a troubled past.
... The Iranian society doesn't share the same institutional settings: the legitimacy of the government does not stem from its leadership towards economic progress, as the economic decision making is influenced by oil revenues. The cultural setting promotes short termism (Katouzian, 2004), (Manoocheri, 2017). ...
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... It is possible to show that several historical circumstances in the Iranian society have created these cycles of stretching and folding. This is to some extent close to the concept of "short-term society" theorized by Katouzian (2004). By and large, this is the case of societies who have been subjected to exogenous forces. ...
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... Decision-makers that are too often in a rush for short-term gains need to be more mindful of the long-term effects of their policies on the environment, society, culture, and politics. Iran has historically been a jame'eye kotah-moddat -a "short-term society" (Katouzian, 2004). Changing this myopic attitude in Iran is thus challenging when change -even important and fundamental change -tends to be a short-term phenomenon. ...
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... This contributed to the development of a semi-permanent state of instability and insecurity within Iran (and other Eastern countries) in what Katouzian names a short-term society. 21 Many important historical watersheds such as the fall of the Safavid dynasty (1501-1738) had some important ecological factors. The Safavid empire (the last great historical Iranian empire) gradually disintegrated not only because of the weakness of the latter Safavid monarchs but also due to major economic and military challenges which were often caused by drought and water scarcity. ...
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... His intellectual attempts to develop theories and conceptual frameworks for the study of Iranian history and society include analyses regarding law and freedom. Casting doubt on the accuracy of uncritically applying the theories developed for the study of European society to the Iranian case, he has put forward a number of thoughtful ideas, such as his notions of 'arbitrary rule and chaos', 44 'the fundamental conflict between state and society in Iranian history', 45 'Iran as a short-term society', 46 and 'liberty and license in Iranian history'. 47 These ideas are useful in recapturing the historical situation in which questions of freedom arose. ...
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Thesis
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The recent Iranian revolution has brought into light the question of the nature and significance of both the logic and the sociology of long-term social and economic development in that country. This subject is of considerable interest in its own right, but it is of even greater significance for a realistic understanding of the country's recent developments, its present situation, and its future prospects. For it was mainly the Jack of such an understanding and insight which led the vast majority of modern Iranian intellectuals and educated masses of all political and ideological persuasions to misconstrue the logic of the events since 1963, and fail to predict the form, content, and consequences of the recent revolution.
The Eclipse of the Qajars and the Rise of the Pahlavis (London and New York: I.B. Tauris, 2000), Vols.1–3; Iranian History and Politics, ‘.arrah-ye Izadi va Haqq-e Elahi-ye Padshahan’ in Ettela‘at Siyasi-Eqtesadi
  • See Katouzian
  • State
See Homa Katouzian, State and Society in Iran, The Eclipse of the Qajars and the Rise of the Pahlavis (London and New York: I.B. Tauris, 2000), Vols.1–3; Iranian History and Politics, ‘.arrah-ye Izadi va Haqq-e Elahi-ye Padshahan’ in Ettela‘at Siyasi-Eqtesadi, 1998, pp.129–30; ‘Legitimacy and Succession in Iranian History’, Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, Vol.23 (2003).
from Constantine to St Louis (London: Longman, 1974), Parts II
  • R H C Davis
  • Political And Economic Development In Iran
  • History
R.H.C. Davis, POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN IRAN A History of Medieval Europe, from Constantine to St Louis (London: Longman, 1974), Parts II, V–IX. Herbert Butterfield et. al., A Short History of.rance (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1959). H.A.L..isher, A History of Europe (London: Edward Arnold, 1936).
Early Modern Europe, from about 1450 to about 1720
  • See Sir
See Sir George Clark, Early Modern Europe, from about 1450 to about 1720 (London: Oxford University Press, 1966);
The Age of Humanism and Reformation
  • H A L Isher
  • History
  • Europe
  • Ii Book
  • A G Dickens
H.A.L..isher, A History of Europe, Book II; A.G. Dickens, The Age of Humanism and Reformation (London: Prentice-Hall International, 1977).
The Trial of Charles I (London: World Books, 1964); The King’s War
  • C V See
  • Wedgwood
See C.V. Wedgwood, The Trial of Charles I (London: World Books, 1964); The King’s War (London:.ontana, 1966);
Louis XIV and the Greatness of .rance
  • See
  • Maurice Ashley Example
See, for example, Maurice Ashley, Louis XIV and the Greatness of.rance (London: The English Universities Press, 1966);
Richelieu and the .rench Monarchy
  • C V Wedgwood
C.V. Wedgwood, Richelieu and the.rench Monarchy (London: The English Universities Press, 1958).
arrah-ye Izade va Haqq-e Elahi-ye Padshahan’
  • See
  • Further
  • ‘ Katouzian
See further, Katouzian, ‘.arrah-ye Izade va Haqq-e Elahi-ye Padshahan’.
Iranian History and Politics; State and Society in Iran, The Eclipse of the Qajars, especially ch.1. 16. .or a statement of this myth expressed in post-Islamic termsTehran: Ershad, 1995), pp.116–17; Nezm al-Molk Tusi, Siyar al-Muluk or Siyasatnameh
  • See
See further, Katouzian, Iranian History and Politics; State and Society in Iran, The Eclipse of the Qajars, especially ch.1. 16..or a statement of this myth expressed in post-Islamic terms, see Abolfazl Baihaqi (ed.), Tarikh-e Baihaqi Ali Akbar.ayyaz (Tehran: Ershad, 1995), pp.116–17; Nezm al-Molk Tusi, Siyar al-Muluk or Siyasatnameh, Hubert Darke (ed.) (Tehran: Tarjumeh va Nashr-e Ketab, 1961).
1554, just as .erdawsi resumes his own writing after the 1
  • Shahnameh
Shahnameh, vi, p.1554, just as.erdawsi resumes his own writing after the 1,000 inserted distiches of Daqiqi come to an end.
iscal History of Iran in the Safavid and Qajar Periods, Persian Studies
  • Willem Loor
Willem.loor, A.iscal History of Iran in the Safavid and Qajar Periods, Persian Studies, No.17 (New York, Bibliotheca Press, 1998). 27..loor, A.iscal History, p.335.
.or a somewhat different, though not contradictory, version see E‘temad al-Saltaneh
  • Bamdad
Bamdad, Vol.5, p.303..or a somewhat different, though not contradictory, version see E‘temad al-Saltaneh, p.601.
An Inquiry into The Nature and Causes of The Wealth of Nations (London: Methuen, 1950) 1, II, 3, ‘Of the Accumulation of Capital
  • Adam See
  • Smith
See Adam Smith, An Inquiry into The Nature and Causes of The Wealth of Nations (London: Methuen, 1950) 1, II, 3, ‘Of the Accumulation of Capital, or of Productive and Unproductive Labour’, 320.
Amir Kabir, 1979), pp.95–7, 153–7. 45. .or an extensive account and discussion of this subject, see Homa Katouzian, Ideology and Method in Economics
  • Ibid
  • Homa 321–3 Further
  • Adam Katouzian
  • Smith
Ibid., pp.321–3 further, Homa Katouzian, Adam Smith va Servat-e Melal (Tehran: Amir Kabir, 1979), pp.95–7, 153–7. 45..or an extensive account and discussion of this subject, see Homa Katouzian, Ideology and Method in Economics (London and New York: Macmillan and New York University Press, 1980), pp.1–3. See also, Katouzian, Adam Smith va Servat-e Melal.
whose theory (which was directly based on Smith’s) he was POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN IRAN 21 401mes01
  • Keynes
Keynes said this about Ricardo, whose theory (which was directly based on Smith’s) he was POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN IRAN 21 401mes01.qxd 06/01/2004 10:29 Page 21 Downloaded by [University of Winnipeg] at 05:26 03 September 2014 attacking. See his The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money (London: Macmillan, 1961), 2.
A Comparative Theory of State and State and Society in Iran, ch.1. 51. See further, Katouzian, Iranian History and Politics. 52. .or the latest version of this author’s concept of ‘pseudo-modernism’, see State and Society in Iran
  • See
  • Example
  • Katouzian
See, for example, Katouzian, ‘Arbitrary Rule, A Comparative Theory of State, Politics and Society in Iran’, British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Vol.1, No.24 (1997), and State and Society in Iran, ch.1. 51. See further, Katouzian, Iranian History and Politics. 52..or the latest version of this author’s concept of ‘pseudo-modernism’, see State and Society in Iran, p.11.