Amid all the attention that Iranian politics has received since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, local politics has been almost totally neglected. This neglect vitiates our understanding of contemporary Iran, as it is at the local level that state policies are carried out, contested, reshaped, resisted, or revised. Beginning with the centralizing state-building of Reza Shah Pahlavi (r. 1926–41), Tehran increasingly dominated Iran's politics, commercial activities, and cultural life, and most of the country's Westernized elites lived in the capital. The 1979 revolution was to some extent a populist revolt against this Westernized elite, and among the new rulers those whose social and family roots are outside Tehran abound. Among the common people, “the experience of participation in mass political activity … undermined the feeling of political abjection,” while the new rulers have attempted, not always successfully, to lessen the gap not only between rich and poor, but also between rich and poor provinces. The new prominence of provincials in national life has gone hand in hand with a greater recognition of Iran's ethnic and linguistic diversity, while at the same time the sense of common participation in the revolution and the Iran–Iraq War has knitted people of different ethnic backgrounds more closely together.