International Journal of Middle East Studies

Articles

REGIME LOYALTY AND BĀZĀRĪ REPRESENTATION UNDER THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN: DILEMMAS OF THE SOCIETY OF ISLAMIC COALITION

Arang Keshavarzian c1

The prevailing perception within the academy, policy circles, and the media inside and outside Iran has been that the members of bazaars are a unified social class engaged in a symbiotic relationship with the political elite of the Islamic republic and the conservative faction in particular. This approach is largely built on the perspective that there is a historic predilection for bāzārīs and clerics to cooperate (“mosque–bazaar alliance”), and thus ideological compatibility and familial ties between the clergy and bāzārīs have continued and developed into an alliance under the current regime headed by segments of the clergy. For instance, one of the leading experts on 20th-century Iran, Nikki Keddie, comments that, despite Mohammad Khatami's reformist agenda, “the ruling elite, who represent an alliance between the commercial bazaar bourgeoisie and conservative clerics, resist giving up their economic privileges as they do their political ones.”

Correspondence

c1 Arang Keshavarzian is Associate Professor in the Department of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, New York University, New York, N.Y.; e-mail arang.keshavarzian@nyu.edu

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