Gholam Hossein Sadiqi: The Founder of Sociology in Iran

This article reviews Gholam Hossein Sadiqi's life both as a popular political leader and a well-respected academician.It also elaborates on his pioneering role not only in the introduction of sociology as a discipline to Iranian academic institutions but also in terms of his contribution to the development of the field of Iranian social history.

Sadiqi began teaching sociology in the University of Tehran in 1940 and later, with Ehsan Naraqi's assistance, founded the Institute of Social Studies and Research. However, his popularity, even among Iranian intellectuals, emanated more from his nationalist tendencies and upright political positions than from his scholarly accomplishments. In fact, he was best known as a nationalist who was, somewhat reluctantly, brought onto the political arena during the oil nationalization period of 1951-53. Despite occasional differences with Dr. Mosaddeq, he served him faithfully as minister of interior and later as deputy prime minister. After his arrest, following Mosaddeq's fall, Sadiqi continued to defended his policies fearlessly. Later on, during early 1960's, he emerged as one of the most prominent leaders of the Second National Front. On the eve of the 1979 Islamic revolution, Sadiqi briefly considered accepting Shah's offer to become his prime minister, but eventually rejected the offer, when, among other things, Shah insisted on leaving Iran.

In his academic life, Sadiqi was a pioneer in the field of Iranian social history. He was particularly attracted to popular movements against oppressive or alien rule. His doctoral dissertation, in the University of Paris, was about religious movements in Iran in the two centuries following the arab conquest. His later research projects centered on Iran's constitutionalist movement and political parties. Sadiqi was also well acquainted with the primary sources of Iranian history and was instrumental in the selection and publication of a number of these sources.

Nearly half a century after its publication, Sadiqi's doctoral dissertation which is partly an analysis of the concepts of social historiography and partly a comprehensive survey of historical sources, data and documents, continues to be a major contribution to the subject. It is not only a treatise on the political, social and cultural causes of religious movements and uprisings but also a concise yet pioneering historical survey of seven major religious movements in early Islamic Iran.

Ahmad Ashraf
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