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Social Change in Iran: An Eyewitness Account of Dissent, Defiance, and New Movements for Rights Hardcover – April, 2002

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 269 pages
  • Publisher: State Univ of New York Pr (April 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0791452115
  • ISBN-13: 978-0791452110
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,005,559 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


This is a good source for learning about recent developments in Iran. All levels and collections. -- Choice

Yaghmaian's book is a captivating eyewitness account told by a knowledgeable insider... a book that deserves to be read widely. -- VOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Non-profit Organizations

From the Publisher

Social Change in Iran is an inquiry into the recent changes in Iran, blending scholarly analysis, eyewitness accounts, and the author’s personal experiences. It tells the stories of everyday people, be it young men and women challenging the cultural and social mandates of the Islamic Republic, or workers toiling at multiple jobs to overcome harsh economic realities. This passionate homage to the people of Iran as told by a native is a glimpse into the human feelings and aspirations of a people subjected to varying forms of violence at home and widespread misunderstanding abroad. At the same time Yaghmaian provides an informed analysis of the widening political divide within the state, and the emergence of a movement for reform, both of which have shaken the seemingly indisputable foundations of the Islamic Republic.

More About the Author

Behzad Yaghmaian is an Iranian-born author living in the United States. Currently, he is a Professor of Political Economy at Ramapo College in New Jersey. He has taught in the United States, Iran, and Turkey.

Yaghmaian has published a number of articles on globalization and Third World Studies in various academic journals. His book, Social Change in Iran: An Eyewitness Account of Dissent, Defiance, and Movements for Rights, was written after a year-long visit to Iran during the time of the brief political opening in Iran in 1998-99. During that period, Yaghmaian was a columnist for a popular reformist newspaper, Neshat, while also contributing articles to other widely-read dailies and magazines. He was the consultant for a 2003 PBS/Channel 4 (England) documentary about Iran.

In September 2002, Yaghmaian left the United States, traveling for two years in the Middle East and Europe following migrants from Muslim countries on the journey to the West. He lived among them, listened to their hopes, dreams, and fears, weaving together dozens of their stories of yearning, persecution, and unwavering faith in his latest book, Embracing the Infidel: Stories of Muslim Migrants on the Journey West.

In 2007, Yaghmaian traveled to china to live among the growing population of internal migrants working in the country's sprawling factories. His most recent book, The Accidental Capitalist: A People's Story of the New China, is a narrative of China's economic and social transformation told through personal biographies of migrants.

Yaghmaian has appeared on CNN, CNN International, Book TV, C-SPAN 2, Amy Goodman's Democracy Now, NPR's Morning Edition, WNYC's The Brian Lehrer Show, a number of NPR and local radio stations around the country, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and different radio programs in England, and Italy. His op-ed pieces have been published in USA Today, The New York Times Online,The International Herald Tribune and The Chicago Tribune, and his journalism has appeared in Le Monde Diplomatique and various popular online sites. Translations of his earlier stories were published in National Geographic and Le Monde Diplomatique in Turkish.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Brandon Wilkening on February 17, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is an insightful insider's look at the reform movement that has grown rapidly in Iran over the past decade. Particular emphasis is given to the student movement. The author nicely combines rigorous academic scholarship with journalistic, first-hand accounts of the Iranian political scene. While the author is apparently a professional economist, he writes with surprising fluidity on a number of subjects. Mr. Yaghmaian does not pretend to be a dispassionate observer: he clearly detests the hardliners and Islamic fundamentalists, unsurprisingly perhaps, as he relates the story of how he and his female friend were arrested for appearing together in public. He does an excellent job of conveying the sense of fear and tension in the Islamic Republic, as he repeatedly mentions the ubiquitous "bearded men in slippers" who seem to be everywhere, armed and waiting for cowed citizens to waver in their moral righteousness. His analyses of the student protests, the print media, and the deteriorating economic situation are all highly informative. One of the few criticisms that I can make of the book is that it could have been a lot shorter. The author often reiterates the exact same points over and over again in slightly different form. Also, he sometimes gets overly sentimental when he is talking about the student protests; one honestly gets the impression that he is talking about Woodstock, as the words love, joy, happiness, and peace are used endlessly to describe the students. Also, their are LOTS of exclamation points in the text, many of them in akward places. About the only criticism I can make of the subject matter is that he does not give much attention to the women's movement, although he does refer to it indirectly in several instances.Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Chris on March 25, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Social Change in Iran is the rare book that combines intense personal experiences with an analytical background that enables the reader to understand those experiences in their proper context. Yaghmaian uses the stories of taxi drivers, workers and ordinary people to make the situation in Iran come alive for an American audience that may not have much of an understanding of what life is like in the Islamic Republic. The fear that ordinary Iranians feel from the threat of state violence and oppression is palpable. The passage in which Yaghmaian relates his conversations with young Iranians on an airplane - who are hoping to find freedom outside of Iran - is terrifying and unforgettable. This is a book that will draw you in and make your jaw drop when you read about the injustices suffered by the people of Iran. Given the current state of the world, this book is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the complexities of life in Iran.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mohammad Maljoo on March 27, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Iran has experienced immensely rich and diverse political and social developments during the past six years. Various analysts have precisely and frequently explained Iran's political developments. But, the country's rapid social changes have been hardly discussed. This book is the first systematic effort to capture the meaning and significance of this experience and to draw theoretical implications from it. As far as I know, there is no substitute for a social analysis as subtle, fresh, and deep as the author's analysis of social chang in Iran.
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Format: Paperback
Mr. Yaghmaian's book is an exellent and timely documentary about
changes in Iran's political culture and society after the
revolution without any preference or prejudious.
He has done a exellent job in exposing of the reality and pain
of the Iranian's people in dealing with their normal and most
of the time ( abnormal ) LIFE.
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