Sociology of Shi'ite Islam is a comprehensive study of the development of Shi'ism. In these collected essays Arjomand has persistently developed a Weberian theoretical framework for the analysis of Shi'ism, from its sectarian formation in the eighth century through the establishment of the Safavid empire in the sixteenth century, to the Islamic revolution in Iran in the twentieth century. The bearers or cultural carriers of Shi'ite Islam first emerged as a sectarian elite, then a hierocracy and finally a theocracy. Imamate, Occultation and the theodicy of martyrdom are identified as the main components of the Shi'ism as a world religion. These studies highlight revolutionary impulses embedded in the belief in the advent of the hidden Imam, and the impact of Shi'ite political ethics on the authority structure of pre-modern Iran and the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Said Amir Arjomand (Ph.D, University of Chicago, 1980) is Distinguished Service Professor of Sociology, President of the Association for the Study of Persianate Societies and Editor of the Journal of Persianate Studies .