The twentieth century has witnessedt h e failureof threem a jo r
democratic movementsi n Iran: the Constitutional Revolutionof
1905, theO il Nationalization Movement of 1951,and the "Islamic"
Revolutionof1979.In al1 threei n s t a n c e sapartial democracy was
briefly established, but each of these eventually failed. The focusof
this thesis is to investigatethe socioeconornicand political factors
which led or contributedto the failure oft h eI r a n i a n people to
institutionalize democracyi nth e ir country. Without ignoring or even
underestimatingthe impact of extemal factorssucha s foreign power
interventions, this thesis relates these failures, and the inabilityof
Iranian society tohold on to democracy,tof i v e important intrinsic
weaknesses of Iranian society:t h e patrimonial nature of its state,
underdeveloped capitalism,w e a k civil society, subject political
culturea n d a b s o l u t i s t r e l i g i o u s beliefs.