Religion has played a vital role in the development of civilization across all corners of the globe, and today is no exception. The reality is that much of the most notable events throughout the world's history have been influenced in a significant way by religion of one kind or another. The influence of religion in society is especially relevant in contemporary Iran where the country has long been ruled not through the principles of a liberal democracy as is seen in the West, but through the tenets of Islam. The leaders of this country have sought to control their population from a divine standpoint, much to the dismay of the worldwide community who charge that this religious approach to governance constitutes oppression on a grand scheme. The recent presidential election that took place in Iran on June 12, 2009 is very interesting because it represented a test of the future direction of the country.
The incumbent, hard-line leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who had ruled according to strict Islamic principles faced off against a few other candidates, including reformist candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi who represented a change for the nation, one that would be more liberal and less influenced by the traditional and strict teachings of Islam. The election had an incredibly high turnout, and the alleged results came in quickly. The incumbent Ahmadinejad was declared the winner by a very large majority.
[...] The article about the protests in Iran by Martin brings up an interesting contemporary social event that can be examined using traditional sociological theories. This essay examined this article using conflict theory and symbolic interactionism. This examination yielded a few important points. It was shown that the situation that is currently taking place in Iran is a product of the long-standing oppression and control that the power elite in the country have used as a way of quelling any dissent to their own interest. [...]
[...] This essay will show that the situation in Iran is an interesting social phenomenon, and social theory provides a good way of examining, from both a micro and macro level perspective, why these events are taking place in the way that they are. Martin's articles stems from the massive protests and social unrest that come from the disputed election results of the presidential election. He highlights how this social unrest is about a whole lot more than just an election; it is about the direction of a country that has long had firm grips on its people. [...]
[...] Because these two competing social groups in Iran are not able to both pursue their own agendas without conflicting with each other, one group, or the power elite as Mills calls it, has had to use exploitation and oppression to ensure that the other group does not get their way. This has been seen in Iran as Ahmadinejad and his tight-knit group of religious clerics, politicians and military officials have had to use the strong arm of the law and violent measure to quell any dissent from their stated policies. [...]
[...] Symbolic interactionism can be used as a useful micro level social theory to understand the social unrest that is taking place in Iran. For a long time the governing administration in Iran has imposed strict social rules on its people. For example, strict codes of dress, marriage, sexual preference and so on. These strict rules have significantly impacted the nature of daily life for people in Iran, as they have to create their entire social life within the confines of these rules. [...]
[...] This is a form of conflict that takes place in Iran, with the religious leaders oppressing the intellectuals, and it, among other conflicts, has culminated in the massive social unrest that has taken place recently, and therefore it can be said that conflict theory can be used as an effective way of explaining, from a sociological perspective, why these events are happening. The symbolic interactionist approach is different than conflict theory as it is a micro level analysis of society because it focuses on small groups within society as opposed to large-scale institutions within the society. [...]
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