Sociology of Shiʿite Islam

Collected Essays

Sociology of Shiʿite Islam is a comprehensive study of the development of Shiʿism. In these collected essays Arjomand has persistently developed a Weberian theoretical framework for the analysis of Shiʿism, from its sectarian formation in the eighth century through the establishment of the Safavid empire in the sixteenth century, to the Islamic revolution in Iran in the twentieth century. The bearers or cultural carriers of Shiʿite Islam first emerged as a sectarian elite, then a hierocracy and finally a theocracy. Imamate, Occultation and the theodicy of martyrdom are identified as the main components of the Shiʿism as a world religion. These studies highlight revolutionary impulses embedded in the belief in the advent of the hidden Imam, and the impact of Shiʿite political ethics on the authority structure of pre-modern Iran and the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
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Biographical Note

Saïd Amir Arjomand (Ph.D, University of Chicago, 1980) is Distinguished Service Professor of Sociology and Director of the Stony Brook Institute for Global Studies, President of the Association for the Study of Persianate Societies and Editor of the Journal of Persianate Studies.

Review Quotes

Sociology of Shiʿite Islam: Collected Essays is a must-read book full of insights for both specialists as well as those interested in the history of Shi‘i Islam.”

Yaser Mirdamadi, University of Edinburgh, in Reading Religion

Table of contents

Abbreviations
Introduction: Shiʻite Islam as a World Religion, its Social Forms, Bearers and Impact on Social Action
Part I: Formation of Shiʻite Islam as a World Religion of Salvation: Imamate, Occultation and Theodicy
Chapter 1: Origins and Development of Apocalyptic Messianism in Early Islam
Chapter 2: Crisis of the Imamate and the Institution of Occultation in Twelver Shi`ism
Chapter 3: Imam Absconditus and the Beginnings of a Theology of Occultation
Chapter 4: The Shiʻite Doctrine of Occultation and the Transition from Chiliasm to Law
Chapter 5: Shiʻite Theodicy: Martyrdom and the Meaning of Suffering
Part II: Shiʻite Religion and the Structure of Domination in Iran
Chapter 6: Hierocratic Authority in Shiʻism and the Transition from Sectarian to National Religion in Iran
Chapter 7: Three Decrees of Shah Tahmāsp on Clerical Authority and Public Law in Shiʻite Iran
Chapter 8: Political Ethic and Public Law in the First half of the Nineteenth Century
Chapter 9: Imam Khomeini and the Constitution of the Rule of God in Contemporary Iran
Part III: The Bearers of Shiʻite Islam and its Institutional Organization
Chapter 10. Hosayn b. Ruh al-Nawbakhti: the Third Emissary of the Hidden Imam
Chapter 11. The Clerical Estate and the Rise of a Shiʻite Hierocracy in Safavid Iran
Chapter 12: The Office of Mullā-Bāshi in Shiʻite Iran
Chapter 13: Shiʻite Jurists and Iran’s Law and Constitutional Order in the Twentieth Century
Part IV: Shiʻite Islam and the Motivation of Sociopolitical Action: Revolution and Constitution
Chapter 14: The Rise of Shah Esmāʻil as a Mahdist Revolution
Chapter 15: The Conversion of Iran to Twelver Shiʻite by the Safavid State: 1501-1722
Chapter 16: Ideological Revolution in Shiʻism
Chapter 17: Shiʻite Islam and the Islamic Revolution in Iran
Chapter 18: Shiʻite Conceptions of Authority and Constitutional Developments in the Islamic Republic of Iran
Chapter 19. Shiʻite Dissent in Iran before and after the Islamic Revolution
Bibliography
Index

Readership

All interested in Islamic and Middle Eastern studies, Iran, sociology and history of religions, Shiʿism, millennialism and sociology of revolution. Social scientists interested in religion and politics, Weberian theory.