Electoral theocracy and hybrid sovereignty in Iran

Journal article


Ghobadzadeh, Naser and Rahim, Lily Zubaidah. (2016). Electoral theocracy and hybrid sovereignty in Iran. Contemporary Politics. 22(4), pp. 450 - 468. https://doi.org/10.1080/13569775.2016.1175097
AuthorsGhobadzadeh, Naser and Rahim, Lily Zubaidah
Abstract

Post-revolution Iran is uniquely based upon the contradictory principles of divine and popular sovereignty but with ultimate authority delegated to jurists. At the same time, the theocratic basis of clerical dominance is rooted within a pluralistic and decentralised theological tradition peculiar to the Shiite establishment. Despite the tutelary institutional arrangements engineered by the ruling clergy, elections have generated unexpected outcomes and unleashed power and policy shifts. Emphasising the political dynamic generated by elections, this paper examines the uncertainties stemming from electoral processes that have been constructed by conflicting electoral and theocratic principles. In developing the concept of electoral theocracy, the paper highlights the paradoxes underpinning the hybridity of Iran’s clerical and electoral authoritarian system of governance. These hybrid features have remained largely neglected in the literature on electoral authoritarian regimes.

Keywordselectoral authoritarianism; democratisation; Iran; political Islam; Islamic state; electoral theocracy
Year2016
JournalContemporary Politics
Journal citation22 (4), pp. 450 - 468
PublisherRoutledge
ISSN1356-9775
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/13569775.2016.1175097
Scopus EID2-s2.0-84966593288
Page range450 - 468
Research GroupInstitute for Social Justice
Publisher's version
File Access Level
Controlled
Place of publicationUnited Kingdom
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