Ali Shariati

Wastnidge, Edward (2022). Ali Shariati. In Mabon, Simon and Wastnidge, Edward eds. Social Theory in the Middle East SEPAD.



Ali Shariati is often cited as one of the key ‘ideologues’ behind Iran’s revolution, despite not living to see its success in overthrowing the Shah in 1979. The social and political thought of Shariati was highly influential amongst segments of the opposition to the Shah in the decade leading up to the revolution. His ability to take elements of 20th Century postcolonial political thought and imbibe it with Iranian and religious meaning, and reference points, gave him a popular appeal that still resonates in some sections of Iranian political thought and debate today. While much work has understandably focused on the relevance of Shariati’s political thought for both Iran’s revolutionary experience and political life in the Islamic Republic, its application beyond these milieus is less well covered. The following starts by offering an overview of the intellectual context and key arguments of Shariati’s wide ranging work, which has been well-explored elsewhere. It then looks at Shariati’s thought in application, before finishing with some of the issues to be aware of when applying his work.

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