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  • Author or Editor: Saïd Amir Arjomand x
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The themes of nation-building, post-colonial modernization and constitution-making, post-communist return to the rule of law and constitutional reconstruction, the global expansion of judicial power and judicial activism by the constitutional courts are usually studied by different specialists with somewhat narrow foci. This book is a unique and ambitious interdisciplinary attempt at the integration of these related fields, and offers a timely theoretical synthesis of the most important global constitutional trends in the last half-century. These essays by prominent authorities on different subjects and geographical areas offer a comprehensive, comparative view of the most important constitutional developments of two eras, bringing together the transplantation of the constitutional pattern of the nation-state and the current wave of globalization of constitutionalism and the rule of law. Contributors are: S.A.Arjomand, Nathan J. Brown, Ruth Gavison, Julian Go, Keyvan Tabari, Heinz Klug, Jill Cottrell, Yash Ghai, László Sólyom, Jacek Kurczewski, Anders Fogelklou, Grażyna Skąpska, Dieter Grimm, Kim Lane Scheppele, Ruth Rubio Marín , and Dicle Kogacioğlu.
Sociology of Shiʿite Islam is a comprehensive study of the development of Shiʿism. Its bearers 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 Shiʻism as a world religion. In these collected essays Arjomand has persistenly 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. These studies highlight revolutionary impulses embedded in the belief in the advent of the hidden Imam, and the impact of Shiʻite political ethics on the authority structure of pre-modern Iran and the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran.


The modern Persian term for “revolution,” enqelāb, often used in conjunction with dawlat as the divinely ordained turn in power, stretches way back to the medieval period, and was in fact even used shortly before the revival of literary Persian to describe the Khorasanian uprising against the Umayyads. We find two very different ideas of revolution in the Persianate literature. The first is a deterministic theory of revolution in earthly kingdoms as a natural phenomenon; this has received little or no attention in the secondary literature on the subject. The idea had Indian origins, was developed in the late Sasanian Iran and absorbed in the astronomical theories of the early ʿAbbasid period. The second conception is a normative one, and belongs to the literature on statecraft and political ethics. It explains revolution as a consequence of the moral decay of the ruler and his failure to uphold the principles of statecraft. According to this second theory, revolutionary upheaval and changes of dynasty result from the failure of the rulers to maintain the prosperity of the kingdom through justice. This conception, too, can be traced to the Khorasan uprising. The mutual articulation and reconciliation of the deterministic and the normative conceptions of revolution represents the Persianate understanding of human agency within the framework of cosmic laws.

In: Journal of Persianate Studies