Manufacturing Dissent Since 1996
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Understanding the roots of Iran's protest wave.


The protests were and weren't economic. Even economic protests are really about people's understandings of being included in social changes occurring - or not. And as far as we know, a lot of the grievances were about feeling excluded from the deals being made at the top by the Islamic Republic - with the West, with various factions inside the country, and also with Tehran. The middle class in Tehran were doing pretty well over the last few years, compared with the rest of the country.

The Radical Pessimist, Kevan Harris examines the recent wave of anti-government protests across Iran - as part of a larger trend of labor-focused protests since 2013, and as a point of tension between competing factions within the Iranian state openly wielding corruption allegations against each other, and amplifying both anti-government sentiment and the chance for political realignment within the Republic.

Kevan co-authored the report Voter Behaviour and Political Mobilization in Iran for EIRG and co-wrote the article How years of increasing labor unrest signaled Iran’s latest protest wave for Washington Post.

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Kevan Harris

Kevan Harris is an assistant professor of sociology at the University of California at Los Angeles.


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