Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Government and International Affairs

Major Professor

Harry E. Vanden


development, Huntington, shah, traditional


This case study is in an effort to demonstrate the disastrous effects of modernization via social mobilization and economic development when initiated from above and through foreign intrusion. Initially, this research will examine previous theoretical literature regarding the political phenomenon of modernization and social mobilization. My primary focus will center on the problems that occur when rapid modernization, based on an exogenous model, is forced onto a traditional society by elites and social mobilization outpaces political institutionalization. My case study will focus on the country of Iran, as the political and societal factors of interest seem to be highly illustrative of the period leading up to the revolution. A brief historical analysis will be conducted. I will then analyze Iran from 1953 to 1979 by looking at the policies of the shah and the Western influence of those policies, the evidence of social mobilization that may have taken place, any moves towards urbanization, possible affects on traditional groups, and the state of political institutionalization. This study's central argument is that rapid modernization through social mobilization while lacking political institutionalization results in instability and possibly revolution. This study is being conducted in an effort to demonstrate the validity of this proposed political phenomenon by analyzing Iran in the years leading-up to the revolution.