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Theoretical Framework

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses the nature of the political system in Iran. It analyses elite studies in general and those on Iran in particular. The chapter conceptualizes the composition of the political elite in the IRI. The IRI is unique in a sense that it combines a semi-theocratic mode of rule based on the velayat-e faqih system. The chapter presents a study that uses the concepts of totalitarian, authoritarian, and democratic regimes as ideal types based on Max Weber. It stresses the necessity to integrate the concept of geopolitics into foreign policy analysis. Here, the conventional approach to geopolitics is criticized and a new approach, called critical geopolitics, is suggested, as part and parcel of the critical theory of IR and IPE theories. The chapter specially focuses on the role of politicized religion (Shiism) in the formulation of the IRIs foreign policy.

Keywords: authoritarian political system; critical geopolitics; Iran; IRIs foreign policy; Max Weber; Shiism; totalitarian political system



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