Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-768dbb666b-t89mg Total loading time: 0.292 Render date: 2023-02-05T08:25:16.411Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "useRatesEcommerce": false } hasContentIssue true

2 - Bread and Justice in Qajar Iran

The Moral Economy, the Free Market and the Hungry Poor

from Part I - Iran

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 January 2021

Stephanie Cronin
Affiliation:
University of Oxford
Get access

Summary

In 1971, E. P. Thompson published a seminal article on eighteenth century English bread riots which was to become a foundational text for the study of such protests. Challenging older elite notions of the irrationality, illegitimacy and even criminality of the ‘mob’, Thompson situated popular direct action in times of food crises within a very specific historical, economic and, most importantly, cultural context. This context produced a deeply held adhesion among the poor to the concept of a ‘moral economy’ and an equally profound rejection of the free market as enshrined in the new political economy of the eighteenth century. This chapter returns to Thompson's original text in order to assess to what extent his paradigm may be useful in understanding bread riots in Iran. It seeks in particular to identify the sources on which the poor drew to reinforce their sense of their own legitimacy. These sources included the Islamic, notably fiqh and the hisba manuals derived from it, elite notions of paternalism, especially the Circle of Justice, and popular folk culture. The chapter then examines the evidence which supports the notion that Iran experienced a ‘golden age’ of bread riots in the 1890s and early 1900s, just before, and indeed contributing to, the outbreak of the constitutional revolution.

Type
Chapter
Information
Social Histories of Iran
Modernism and Marginality in the Middle East
, pp. 57 - 104
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×