The cultural dimension of external dependence: An inquiry into the internal cultural consequences of external dependence in Iran
The purpose of this research is to investigate the cultural consequences of Iran's dependent relationship with the Western Capitalist countries. The "dependency" paradigm is used as the theoretical framework, and the historical analysis is applied to examine the general condition of Iran during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and to find out what factors were responsible for Iran's dependency. The study argues that the commercial penetration of Iran by the European rival forces, beginning in the late sixteenth century, led to the early incorporation of the Iranian economy into the emerging world Capitalist system. The intensification of Colonial rivalry for the domination of the Iranian market by the late nineteenth century transformed the pre-Capitalist structure of Iran into a dependent Capitalism. According to the study, in addition to the penetration of foreign capital, the absolute arbitrary power of the Iranian kings was a major obstacle to the economic development of Iran. The study maintains that Western domination of the Iranian society also affected the Iranian culture through market structure. The early cultural penetration of Iran, beginning in the nineteenth century, was facilitated and accelerated during the period between 1925 to 1978 by Western-oriented policies of the Iranian regimes. This was due to the fact that the increased influence of foreign capital forced the Iranian ruling class to adopt certain directions and policies for social reforms to change the traditional structure of the society. These policies facilitated the cultural penetration of the country, through the massive importation of Western consumer goods and cultural products. Factors such as education, mass media communication, and printed publications played a crucial role in the course of Western cultural penetration into Iran. The result was cultural polarization of the country: a minority among the upper and upper-middle classes became westernized and alienated from the indigenous culture and the majority who rejected Western culture and opposed the regime's westernization policies. This study maintains that the lranian revolution of 1979, with religious characteristics, symbolized the response of the Iranian people to the Western domination, especially its cultural hegemony over the Iranian society.