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Bazaar and State in Iran

The Tehran Bazaar has always been central to the Iranian economy and,
indeed, to the Iranian urban experience. Arang Keshavarzian™s fascinating
book compares the economics and politics of the marketplace under the
Pahlavis, who sought to undermine it in the drive for modernization, and
under the subsequent revolutionary regime, which came to power with a
mandate to preserve bazaars as an ˜˜Islamic™™ institutions. The outcomes of
their respective policies were completely at odds with their intentions.
Despite the Shah™s hostile approach, the Bazaar ¬‚ourished under his rule
and maintained its organizational autonomy to such an extent that it
played an integral role in the Islamic Revolution. Conversely, the Islamic
Republic implemented policies that unwittingly transformed the ways in
which the bazaar operated, thus undermining its capacity for political
mobilization. Arang Keshavarzian™s book affords unusual insights into the
politics, economics, and society of Iran across four decades.

ARANG KESHAVARZIAN is Assistant Professor of Government at
Connecticut College.
Cambridge Middle East Studies 25

Editorial Board
Charles Tripp (general editor)
Julia A. Clancy-Smith Israel Gershoni Roger Owen
Yezid Sayigh Judith E. Tucker

Cambridge Middle East Studies has been established to publish books on the
modern Middle East and North Africa. The aim of the series is to provide new
and original interpretations of aspects of Middle Eastern societies and their
histories. To achieve disciplinary diversity, books will be solicited from authors
writing in a wide range of ¬elds, including history, sociology, anthropology,
political science, and political economy. The emphasis will be on producing
books offering an original approach along theoretical and empirical lines. The
series is intended for students and academics, but the more accessible and wide-
ranging studies will also appeal to the interested general reader.
A list of books in the series can be found after the index.
Bazaar and State in Iran
The Politics of the Tehran Marketplace

Arang Keshavarzian
Connecticut College, Connecticut
Cambridge, New York, Melbourne, Madrid, Cape Town, Singapore, São Paulo

Cambridge University Press
The Edinburgh Building, Cambridge CB2 8RU, UK
Published in the United States of America by Cambridge University Press, New York
Information on this title: www.cambridge.org/9780521866187

© Arang Keshavarzian 2007

This publication is in copyright. Subject to statutory exception and to the provision of
relevant collective licensing agreements, no reproduction of any part may take place
without the written permission of Cambridge University Press.
First published in print format 2007

eBook (EBL)
ISBN-13 978-0-511-27800-6
ISBN-10 0-511-27800-4 eBook (EBL)

ISBN-13 978-0-521-86618-7
ISBN-10 0-521-86618-9

Cambridge University Press has no responsibility for the persistence or accuracy of urls
for external or third-party internet websites referred to in this publication, and does not
guarantee that any content on such websites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate.
For Fahimeh Azadi and Ali Keshavarzian, my parents

List of maps page viii
List of ¬gures ix
Acknowledgments x
Note on transliteration xiii

1 The puzzle of the Tehran Bazaar under the Pahlavi
monarchy and the Islamic Republic 1
Appendix: Methods of Data Collection and Evaluation 30

2 Conceptualizing the bazaar 39
3 Bazaar transformations: networks, reputations
and solidarities 74
4 Networks in the context of transformative agendas 127
5 Carpets, tea, and teacups: commodity types and
sectoral trajectories 187
6 Networks of mobilization under two regimes 228
7 Conclusions 270

Selected bibliography


Map of Iran xiv
2.1 Tehran Bazaar circa 1970 44
4.1 Teheran “ evolution of the built-up area
between 1891 and 1996 142


1.1 Urbanization: percentage of total population
living in urban areas, 1936“1996 6
1.2 Industrialization: percentage of total workforce
active in nonagricultural sectors, 1906“1996 7
1.3 Literacy: percentage of total population that
is literate, 1956“1996 7
1.4 Education: number of primary schools per
capita, 1940“1996 8
1.5 Commercial and ¬nancial development:
population per bank, 1961“1986 8
1.6 Illustration of the argument 20
3.1 Genealogy of a bazaari family 97


˜ ˜˜Doctor,™ the bazaar is kind of a university,™™ mentioned a bazaari as he
explained the ins and outs of his trade. ˜˜Well then, I am the student and
you are the professors,™™ I responded. I would like to express my deep
gratitude to my ˜˜bazaari professors,™™ who taught me through sharing
their experiences, fears, doubts, criticisms, memories, and aspirations.
Since I pledged that our conversations would remain con¬dential, I
cannot mention them by name. Many were hospitable, forthright, and
over time trusting. This project would have been impossible without their
knowledgeable participation and extraordinary patience.
Equally critical was the support and guidance of my dissertation
committee, ˜˜my university professors.™™ Nancy Bermeo™s encourage-
ment, forbearance, and insightful comments during all stages of my
graduate studies have been invaluable. Like so many graduate students
at Princeton™s Department of Politics, I am thankful to have had such a
motivating and respectful advisor. Atul Kohli and Ira Katznelson helped
me reevaluate and re¬ne my thoughts at various stages of the project,
always in ways that challenged me to re¬‚ect on the principal concerns of
the project and fundamental analytical issues of studying politics.
I would like to acknowledge the critical support of several others who
helped shape my research and analysis and have read parts or all of
various versions of this manuscript. These include Ervand Abrahamian,
Ahmad Ashraf, Asef Bayat, Keith Donoghue, Ellis Goldberg, Erik
Kuhonta, Charles Kurzman, Evan Lieberman, Mazyar Lotfalian, Tamir
Moustafa, Vahid Nowshirvani, Misagh Parsa, Setrag Manoukian,
Naghmeh Sohrabi, and Deborah Yashar. I want to thank Homa
Hoodfar, in particular, for her intellectual support and the generous way
that she and Anthony Hilton made me feel welcome in Montreal. Two
anonymous reviewers provided perceptive comments and suggestions,
which I have tried to address and incorporate.
I am grateful to many individuals who helped in gathering
information and sources and shared with me their insights into Iranian
politics and society. Azam Khatam and Kaveh Ehsani have shared with
me their immense knowledge and original research on Iran. Hadi
Semati, Bijan Afsar-Keshmiri, and Siavash Moridi kindly advised
me and provided valuable input while I was in Iran. I wish to thank
Nazanin Shahrokni for her energetic help with many facets of the

Acknowledgments xi

research, including gathering some critical data. I would like to thank
Siamak Namazi for sharing with me his knowledge and information
about Iran™s economy. The librarians at the Faculty of Social Science,
Fine Arts, and Law and Political Science at Tehran University, Shahid
Beheshti University, the Iranian Carpet Company, the Public Relations
of¬ce at the State Tea Organization, and other research institutes all
proved very helpful. Fariba Adelkhah, Mohammad Reza Ashouri, Reza
Azari, Abbas Bolurfrushan, Mohammad Eskandari, Ramin Karimian,
Ali Reza Karimi-Shiraznia, Mohammad Maljoo, Mohammad Masinaei,
Mohammad Moeini, Jim Muir, Jahanbakhsh Nouraei, Soad Pira,
Fatameh Pira, Ali Rezaei, Ahmad Tabesh, and Kian Tajbaksh all
generously helped me negotiate the dif¬culties of ¬eld research and
provided essential insights for developing the project. At Princeton
University™s Firestone Library, Ms. Azar Ashraf professionally and
cheerfully guided me through the library™s resources. Katayon Kholdi-
Haghighi provided diligent research assistance and made preparing the
manuscript surprisingly enjoyable. Dominc Parviz Brookshaw ¬elded
and addressed questions regarding transliteration with much patience
and humor. I am deeply grateful to Michael Braun, Adrian Dumitru,
and Heather Fussell for their research and editing assistance. Various
stages of this project were generously supported by the Social Science
Research Council™s International Predissertation Fellowship Program
´ ´´
and the Funds Quebecois des recherche sur la societe et la culture. My
colleagues at the Department of Political Science at Concordia
University provided a stimulating environment to revise my manuscript,
and the university granted research support. I thank Marigold Acland,
Isabelle Dambricourt, John Fine, and Viji Muralidhar for their expert
guidance and support in preparing this book for publication.
I have been fortunate to share the travails, and even joys, of being a
graduate student with Adam Becker, Sven Vahsen, and Yuen-Gen
Liang. I believe this book is better thanks to their intellectual generosity
and their friendship. I have pro¬ted from conversations with Narges
Erami, or what she may call ˜˜bazaar speech.™™ She has kindly shared
with me her unique knowledge of Qom, its bazaar, and the carpet
producers; I look forward to reading her work.
Laleh Khorramian has drawn maps, listened to and indulged
my idiosyncrasies, and waited for me to return from libraries and
research trips, but she did all of this (and much more) with exceeding
care and love. Her companionship and her art have shaped how I see
the world and are an inspiration. I trust that by the time she reads these
words, she is fully recovered and making plans to travel around
the world, as well as dancing as often as possible. I hope I will have
xii Acknowledgments

many opportunities in the future to express my appreciation and love
for her.
I was too young to grasp the distinction between objectives and
outcomes from the events surrounding the 1979 Revolution, which I
believe are so essential for making sense of Iran and politics more
generally; instead my understanding of this matter was initially shaped
by football of the early 1980s. In 1982, I abruptly learned that to focus
on an outcome (a ¬nal between Italy and Germany) would distract me
from the complete story, which can be far more profound. The glorious
French and Brazilian teams of the World Cup have remained for me a
spectacular example of how football can and should be played, but also a
lesson that I will overlook much if I direct my attention too narrowly on
score lines and results. Thankfully, at this same time I also realized that
my dreams of vanquishing Red Devils and overturning Boring, Boring
Arsenal are realizable possibilities. By watching the mesmerizing teams
of Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspurs I discovered that one™s dreams
sometimes can recoup trophies and be enshrined as outcomes.
Ghazal Keshavarzian has been a patient and understanding editor, a
supportive and concerned commentator, dear friend, and generous
sister. My family and relatives scattered across the world helped me to
conduct research and opened their homes to me. Hengameh and
Afsaneh Keshavarzian, Kaveh and Sara Nili, Baharak and Yasaman
Zarba¬an, and Majid Zarba¬an and Kamran Nili made stays in Iran
joyful and unforgettable. My four grandparents “ Ani and Maman Ashi,
and Baba and Madar “ have all been in¬‚uential, powerful, and loving in
their own unique ways; I am very thankful to have talked to them about
many of the issues in this book (even if neither I nor they always realized
that was what was taking place). While encouraging me to be inquisitive
and to follow my interests, Fahimeh Azadi and Ali Keshavarzian have
been adoring parents. This book is dedicated to my parents as a small

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