Reflections on different aspects of Reza Shah’s absolute/modern state; a Durkheimian structural perspective

Document Type: Original Article


Abstract: Modern state as a critical institution and, of course, a social phenomenon didn’t emerge accidentally in Iran, but rather originated from a complex set of intellectual and concrete conditions. With execution and operationalization of various action plans under the process of modernization in political and societal area, Reza Shah’s new state sought to initiate structural transformations and establishment of a new division of labor in the society that was required for statebuilding. Following these action plans, the military power of government seriously enforced and local governors, who enjoyed considerable authority in Qajar period, eliminated completely so as to develop a centralized governance of modern state as a united authority structure. As a result of such incorporation of previously fragmented social institutions, a kind of modern state in an authoritative and absolute sense existed in Iran and consequently redefined the Iranian identity in a distinctive form that was predominantly based on nation-state ideology. Accordingly, by using a descriptive-analytic method, this article tries to find a convincing answer for the question that: how could we explain the raise of modern state in Iran by application of Durkheim’s theory Division of labor. Therefore, the hypothesis implies that given the increasing qualitative/quantitative extension of social arena and development of professional-occupational fields, as well as transformation of social structures toward a partial integration in global system politically and economically, new institutions with differentiated functions appeared that facilitated the very modern state-building in Iran at the time of Reza Shah’s rule.