عنوان مقاله [English]
Purpose: There are various approaches to study the modern state in Iran including the Marxist approach, Patrimonial approach and the Oriental despotism approach. These approaches, however, often consider the modern state as a full-blown despotism and Reza Shah as an "oriental despot" or an autocrat who imposed his will upon the society. The critics of Reza Shah claim that he was a dictator: He secularized laws, forced women to do away with the veil, and introduced Western-style dress for men. They state that during his time, there was hardly any political life in the form of opposition. The press was muzzled; the parliament rubber-stamped the king’s decisions, and some of his political rivals and confidantes were imprisoned, some eliminated. Religious protests were put down robustly, and Reza Shah was ruthless with tribal rebellions. Indeed, his style was very brusque. This study aims to show how a seemingly absolute and autocrat modern state, Reza Shah’s State, could be limited by a number of factors including the existence of strong social forces such as tribes, the state’s incapability to exert absolute force, and the intervention of foreign powers. In other words, there have been some social and economic contexts influencing the modern state. In this situation, the Shah could be forced to make a decision and take an action different from his own will. To prove this claim, this study gives some evidence from various sources, including foreign state documents, books, memories, diaries of foreign financial advisers such as Dr. Millspaugh, eyewitnesses who registered their observations etc.
Design/Methodology/Approach: The structural approach is adapted to justify the modern state. In other words, it is shown that to understand the concrete reality of The Modern State, one should refer to the context (social forces, geographic situation, and intervention of foreign forces) and, moreover, one should refer to the state and its ability/inability to exerting absolute force in its territory.
Findings: Our thesis can be summed up by one typical statement: Social, economic, and demographic situations (including social forces and geographically large countries with dispersed population), that is what is called as a context and some characteristics of the Modern State (including state inability to exert absolute force on the country), prevent the state from falling into full-blown despotism. The study has summarized the other approaches and compared them to the approach of the present paper for highlighting the different dimensions of this approach.
Originality/Value: It is the researcher’s belief that this study throws a new light to the debates on Reza Shah’s state as the first modern state in Iran. The critics of this state assert that it was a full blown despotic state, and the defenders consider it as a reformer-dictator state that laid the foundation of modern Iran and transformed the chaotic and desperate conditions of the time. This study shows that, in spite of the fact that there were some suppressions, some structural impediments prevented the Shah to act on his own absolute will.