OJPS  Vol.6 No.3 , July 2016
The Ruling Elite Political Culture in Contemporary Iran
History has showed us that development in every society depends on the elite political roles; hence, their viewpoints regarding socio-political programs and individuals’ needs have played a vital role in determining the fate of a specific society. Also, the elite political culture is considered as an effective factor in political development within the realm of political sociology. To this end, the current study sets out to put forward a precise definition of the political elite culture. In this respect, political elite is not defined in a general sense1 because 79 million Iranian people out of 80 million may regard themselves as elites. Rather, this term was used in a specific sense which was the term “Ruling Class” (Aron, 1991). Also, Moska utilized “the Ruling Class” and Lasswell employed the concept of “the Political Elite” (Badi, 2006). It is claimed that a non-participatory political culture rather than a participatory political one has been considered as one of the main serious reasons for the political underdevelopment; moreover, the elite political culture or ideology in the contemporary era has not been significantly influenced by the new tendencies and developments. Hence, such a culture has been regarded as the continuation of the old patrimonial culture. The present research employs the refined Gabriel Almondba’s model to answer the non-participatory political elite hypothesis during some specific periods of time.

Received 5 April 2016; accepted 4 July 2016; published 7 July 2016

1. Introduction

The study of political development with reference to the ruling elite political culture has been viewed as one of the main concerns of political thinkers. Plato, Aristotle, St. Thomas Dakn, Aquinas, Machiavelli, Montesquieu, Rousseau, Max Weber, Popper, Foucault, as well as Marcuse, each mentioned political culture in his works. However, thinkers such as Almondm-Verba-Pai organized a direct and an accurate investigation of political culture in their comparative studies on politics from 1950 onwards. For instance, Almondm held that every political system implied a particular pattern oriented towards political practices, or possessed an organized mental territory with respect to politics which casted meaning to society, institutional arrangements, and community reliance on individual actions (Almond, 1956) . This pattern or mental territory implies two kinds of ideals: (1) allegiance political culture and (2) participatory political culture. The former presupposes that citizens and the elite usually decide on the appropriate means and the core issues of society. They also provide some solutions to society related issues. While, the latter entails that citizens and the elite strongly disagree on the legitimacy of the political system and the recommended solutions for the main problems (Almondm, Paul, & Monte, 1997) .

Through such a description of the political culture, the whole society can be divided into “elite” and “mass” groups. Here, the following question arises: Does the political culture of the mass group play a much more important role than the political culture of the mass group in the political development process?

In the most general sense, the term “elite” refers to a group of individuals who hold high positions or are superior in a specific kind of field (Bottomore, 1990) . In other words, the elite are a limited number of people within a society who have achieved a high level of professional hierarchy in their fields (Aaron, 1991; Bottomore, 1990) . However, in the most particular sense, it means “the Ruling Elite” (Aaron, 1991) , Moska utilizes “the Ruling Class”, and Lasswell employs the concept of “the Political Elite” (Badi, 2006).

History has taught us that the elite have an important and a decisive status in every society enjoying any kind of political system, even seemingly democratic systems. In addition, the “elite’ opinions, decision-making, and performance are considered as determining factors in fulfilling the people’s demands within a specific society. However, regarding the political culture of the political elite, few studies have been carried out in Iran. These studies can be divided into two broad categories. The first one involves research in the elite political culture for political and social development of a community. These types of studies argue that one of the reasons for political underdevelopment is the inappropriate culture of the political elite. A plethora of these studies implies that political culture has been exploited as a means to achieve a social function. The studies such as Emami (1997), Nosrati Nezhad (2000), and Verdi Zadeh (2005) are categorized under this category. A sufficient number of these researches have not yet utilized all the dimensions and levels of political culture in their conceptual models.

The second category is related to the research that explores the transformation of the political culture of the elite in a specific period of time regarding the change of political culture. In these studies, most of the techniques used is historical-comparative; hence, a plethora of recent theories of political culture are utilized. Gheisari (2001) and Ebrahim Abadi (2005) have carried out their studies in this realm of research. However, the present research attempts to overcome some shortcomings of the previous studies. To this end, the purpose of descriptive analysis of elite political culture is its role in the developments of a country. Hence, we are not looking for the reasons for the formation of elite political culture of Iran but we are seeking to describe the culture. In order to understand, the current research began to explain the governmental members since the government is an entity whose members are questioned by the community. Also, in terms of its performance, the government is the only entity that adopts the most prominent decisions within a community. It is claimed that a specific type of citizenship and non-participatory political culture has been displaced in exchange for participatory political culture which has been regarded as one of the most serious drawbacks of political underdevelopment.

2. The Definition of Concepts

2.1. Political Culture

Some social researchers consider the phenomenon of culture as the result of human social experience (Akhtarshahr, 2007) . Moreover, as for the definition of culture, namely all the material and spiritual achievements of mankind, many researchers consider it as the formation of notions, symbols, discourses, values, institutions, hierarchies, and behavioral patterns through which humans meet their historical needs by the transformation of nature and society.

Also, political culture as a function of public culture is regarded as a concept that tries to combine psychological, anthropological, cognitive, and historical strategies to fill the gap between the micro-analysis level of individual political behavior as well as the analysis level of political behavior based on common values and variables within a society.

Regarding the history of this concept, Sariolghalam (2013) claims that “the concept of political culture in the sense of how culture and politics impact each other is not new and a number of technical texts have dealt with this concept since political science was seen in the literature”. In this respect, he bases his research entitled “Tribal Political Culture of Iran” as dealing with three characteristic which have influenced Iranian political culture in all points of time. These properties are: nepotism, warlike and militancy morale, survival and expansion of tribes through invasion. He, then, concludes that the continuation of political culture in Iran’s political system has postponed the collective attitude of interests, nationalized objectives, as well as removal and mistrust culture (Sariolghalam, 2013). Chalabi (1996) divided political culture into two types: a democratic political culture and authoritarian political culture. Also, for each of these types, he defines six dimensions. The dimensions of democratic political culture are: The tendency toward controlled and limited authoritarianism, political loyalty in the general sense of the word, limited political trust, absence or insignificance of political anomie, the limited and qualitative gap between the masses and the elite, as well as non-acceptance of the basic premise of Human beings’ equality. Authoritarian political culture enjoys the potentiality to exacerbate political masses.

In his book entitled ‘Foundations of Politics’, Aalam (2009) , explains the history of innovation and application of political culture as pertaining to Gabriel Almond’s use for the first time in political science.

Almond defines political culture as individuals’ pattern of attitudes and behaviors towards politics among the members of a society (Aalam, 2009) . Such a culture is formed with the confluence of four separate schools of thought (Almond, 1978) .

1. Wallas, Lippman, McDougall, Thorndike, Lazarsfeld et al.’s tradition of social psychology.

2. Psychological anthropology tradition originally comes from Freud and includes those such as Adorno, Horkheimer, and so forth.

3. European anthropology that Weber, Durkheim, Mannheim and others are considered as prominent figures. Weber claims that religion and values have a crucial impact on economic activities and political structures and argued with Marx’s stance. In addition, Parsons expanded many of the ideas of these writers, especially their views on the role of social norms and values in the United States of America.

4. Studies based on field research and the development of more sophisticated sampling techniques, and data analysis interviews (Almond, 2000) .

The most prominent study is Almond, Verba, & Powell’s research. They believe that in assessing the level of political culture of a given society four criteria should be taken into account:

1. What kind of knowledge does the individual possess regarding the nation’s political system, history, constitution, and so on?

2. What does the individual know regarding the construction and the role of political the elite and the proposed political policies and what are his or her feelings about this issue?

3. What is the individual’s opinion and judgment on the implementation of policies in low-level infrastructure as well as the people and the decisions involved in this process in addition to his or her knowledge and feeling about this issue?

4. How does the individual imagine him-or herself as a member of the political system and how does he or she think about its capabilities? What norms of participation does he or she know (Palmer, Eshton, & Gabriel, 1988; Chilcott, 19992) .

In other words, political culture enjoys three dimensions or basic components: 1. Cognitive dimension; 2. emotional dimension; 3. value dimension. The first dimension shows the knowledge and the beliefs of people and the elite and the second one indicates their emotional orientation. Also, the third dimension shows their judgment and control over the political and the regulation system, as well as the role, the input, and the output of the system.

2.2. Defining the Political Elite Concept

Perhaps, the Plato’s “Republic” can be known as the oldest direct text on the existence and function of a special group called social elite:

“You who are the people of this city. You are all Brothers, but among you there are those who deserve to rule the others. God has molded their nature on the gold. Hence, they are considered as the most valuable and desirable individuals. However, God has used silver for molding the guards’ nature and has utilized iron and copper for molding the farmers’ and artisans, nature” (Plato, 1995) .

Nevertheless, elitism emerged in the socio-political writings of scholars and philosophers in Europe and America in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century which coincided with the years between the two world wars influenced and expanded by the ideas of some Italian intellectuals. What was initially used to impart identical products with hi-and low-quality referred to groups of people enjoying a high-level of political, social, economic, spiritual, or special status in comparison to others (Gould & Kolb, 1997) .

Pareto proposed two definitions for the notion of the elite. In one, the concept encompasses all the social the elite; and in the other, this notion has a narrow meaning that only refers to the government the elite. The broad definition of the elite includes those individuals who have reached a high level of the professional hierarchy and success in the sphere of their activities (Aaron, 1991) . According to Raymond Aaron, Pareto’s model is regarded as objective and impartial. Therefore, we should not think that the concept of the elite enjoys a deep, metaphysical, or moral meaning; on the contrary, it implies that a social group makes it possible to be objectively perceived. The right or the wrong notions of the elite or the concept related to the right to be considered as the elite are not well-grounded questions. As Aaron (1991) aptly put it, the elite are the winners in the lottery of social life or consist of those who have good grades in the competition of life.

In general, the concept of ‘elite’ should be considered based on two aspects:

1. Elite is considered as someone who has a reputation in the community.

2. Elite is regarded as somebody who enjoys the best social, economic, political, as well as cultural levels (Khajeh, 2003) .

The concept of the term “best” is a relative and value-related concept which refers to the notion that the elite are not necessarily the strongest, the brightest, or the most cunning, but they are the best. Morris Dorjeh believes that there is a significant difference between these two concepts. The first concept rests only on the material ends; however, the second notion requires morality and value judgments (Dovorzheh, 1990) . The elite are the ones whom the society considers them as the best; thereby, different cultures have different definitions of the word “elite”.

The concept of the elite should also be defined functionally which means that the elite are usually significant in the roles and valuable functions for most people.

Hence, from the standpoint of Pareto, the ruling elite include the successful individuals who are politically and socially qualified for governmental posts and who are equipped with direct or indirect control of the government (Azghandi, 1997) .

Through this description and based on the theory of Pareto and Mosca’s elitism concept, this study aims to investigate the political elite performance in developing NGOs in Iran since the elite notion is much more inclined towards the definitions of Pareto and Mosca in developing countries. In other words, it should be admitted that the concept of the elite is engulfed with the special socio-economic conditions of different societies; therefore, such a concept in Iran as a developing country is not aligned Western sociology because.

(1) In Western societies, the elite interact competitively within the framework of law; while, in Iranian society, the elite interact to remove one another and to nurture animosity and conflict.

(2) Iranian society is not equipped with a well-grounded system and is not based on a specific entity. Nevertheless, it is comprised of groups of individuals who do not possess definite legal and rational laws as Western societies do.

(3) Industrialized societies enjoy an open social system and insist on the plurality and diversity of the elite. The elite in Iran have been relatively stable with a closed social system.

(4) The formation of the elite group in Iran are more affected by certain cultural traditions prevailing in the society. Hence, their effectiveness on the dynamics of socio-political developments has not been emerged by knowledge and experience.

The reason for using the discussion of Pareto and Mosca is that these two scholars contributed significantly more than any other researchers to the key concept of the political elite group and introduced it to the new social sciences as both. As Azghandi (1997) aptly put it, the model of Pareto and Mosca can be necessarily understood in the nature of contemporary political elite in Iran and in no way is intended to fully analyze and gather all their views.

3. The Analysis of the Political Elite Culture

In political systems, there are at least two types of political culture: the political culture of the elite and the political culture of the mass. The political elite culture deals with the privileges, feelings, and behavioral patterns of those who influence political recruitment and who exert significant impact on the system outputs. The political culture of the mass is also shaped by the people’s attitudes and tendencies (i.e., as a whole) towards politics which does not significantly influence the outputs of the system (Pai et al., 2001) . Hence, the political culture is the sum of interaction among the four elements of mass culture, elite culture, nation’s historical and political experience, as well as the ruling political structure. In this regard, Nafisi (2000) holds that the elite’s and the masses’ perception of political reality, the behavior of leaders, the performance of institutions, the beliefs of political leaders and the elite, the modernization and development of industrial societies, the status of independent groups, as well as the performance of mass media all play an important role in the formation and the establishment of political culture.

Iranian political culture has been influenced by various sources. On the one hand, historic, geographic, demographic, and economic conditions; and on the other, religions and ideologies, family education, special cosmology of Iranian society, some aspects of the Iranian public culture are rooted in the history of Iran which has been persisted by the authoritarian political system. Each of these resources has influenced the development and maintenance of such consequential and limited political culture in Iranian society.

“Rene Gruse” considers Iran as the land of crossing cultures, groups, and general historical main streams (Abtahi, 2003) . The fact that Iran is located at the crossroads of events plays an important role in forming the Iranians’ identity, power structure, and political system. One of the sources of all competitive beliefs and various behaviors of Iranians arises from the country’s geographic and historical conditions. From this perspective, this society which has been in the way of history and civilization, its people are confronted with both positive and negative aspects of personality. On the one hand, Iranians possess open and flexible insight towards new conditions; and on the other hand, the country has been regarded as a crossroad exposed to cultural metamorphosis and greater compliance with other cultures.

Therefore, Iranian researchers consider Iranian culture as an obedient rather than a participatory one for a variety of reasons (Badi, 2001). In such a culture, individuals are not able to cooperate with one another effectively and cannot trust each other. These issues result in the emergence of negative attitudes in the realm of political power. Yd. dr such a culture, people, strong cooperation and trust are unable to be weak. These issues will arise negative attitudes to political power.

In his book entitled “Iran and its solitude”, Eslami (1998) consider Iranian characteristics as: a) extremism; b) fatalism and determinism; c) mistrust; d) secrecy; e) being emotional; f) being obedient to the all-knowing government.

4. Studying the Performance of the Ruling Elite in Three Periods

Iran’s evolution in 1979 represents the beginning of a new revolution in the contemporary Iranian. Since the political culture Islamic Revolution can be subcategorized into three periods.

Because this three period was accompanied by a new discourse in the political history of the country. The first period of eight years (1990-1998) continued with the presidency of Hashemi Rafsanjani. Moreover, the second period began from June 1998 until 2006 during which Khatami ran the presidency. Furthermore, the three, eight years (2006-2014) continued with Ahmadinejad running the presidency of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

4.1. Political Elite Culture in the Rafsanjani’s Government

Generally, if we want to examine the status of development indicators and improvement of civil society organizations in the country in this period (1990-1998) based on political elite culture, we can refer to following cases:

1. The law of activity of parties, political associations and trade and Islamic associations was not implemented in the government of the Hashemi, so that the number of permits issued by the Commission of Ministry of Parties did not exceed 39 cases, while in the first 14 months of Khatami’s government, this number rose to 25 (Eftekhari, 1999) .

2. The law of urban and rural councils was not implemented despite all efforts made in this regard, while it was implemented at the beginning of the Khatami government. Despite the ability of the political elite to provide some political freedoms in the framework of the constitution to encourage public participation, publications and books, especially with critical approach, found no opportunity to have activity in this period (Bashirieh, 2004) .

3. while with official permission of government, numerous magazines were published, many of them can be called non-religious and even some magazines, such as “Iran Farda” “Kian” “Adineh”, “Donyaye Sokhan”, “Salam” and “Jahane Eslam” that belonged to opposite group within the regime, the left side, were allowed to be published (Ghobad-Zadeh, 2002) . However, total number of magazines and newspapers that reflected critical or opposite views was limited and they did not have so ability to maneuver.

4. Despite the government’s efforts to create political stability in the country, in practice, this was not realized and the government could not create unity and cohesion among forces of the power block, but rather its core followed a monopoly in government and political obstruction occurred. The incidence of eliminating and negative political competitions and their growth was considered a serious obstacle to policy development in this period (Khaje Sarvari, 2003).

Therefore, elite political culture had not some features in this period that can be compatible with possibility of political realization, and even, in some cases, it was behaved in a way that if there was a structure that could approach us to political development and promotion of civil organizations closer, it was decided to destroy them.

4.2. Political Elite Culture in Khatami Government

This period (1998-2006) was accompanied by a new discourse in the political history of the country that its result was replacement of “construction” by the discourse of “democratic civil society”. This discourse emphasized on the importance of pluralism, rule of law, and civil rights. The expansion of discourse of cultural pluralism in the world, changed the view of some Iranian rulers to citizens and efforts were made by government and parliament for the rights of citizenship. In this regard, some actions were done in democracy that was revolutionary, including law of councils enforcement, approving the equality of compensation of religious minorities with Muslims, facilitating the conditions for the development of non-governmental organizations, presenting the proposal of jury formation, trying to develop a plan and define political offenses, providing the draft of electoral law reform, ban on torture plan, reforming press law and paying attention to organizing the NGOs and parties, etc.

Before Khatami government, only 38 parties, groups and political organizations had the operating license in the form of civil organization in country. However, after May 23 of 1997, 76 parties and political groups with different orientations and perspectives emerged. Statistics show that since second half of 1997 to the first half of 2010, almost 182 parties, groups and political organizations received the operating license according to Article 10 of the Commission. In the second half of 1997 and 1998 that that the head of Interior Ministry was Abdollah Nouri, 8 and 42 licenses were issued for political activities, respectively. In the years of 1999, 2000, and 2001 that Khatami government ended, 19, 21, and 45 licenses were issued for political activity, respectively. In the second government of Khatami to December of 2004, about 90 licenses of political activities were issued for political parties and organizations.

Despite these efforts, due to sovereignty and the continuation of the political culture of the previous period, not only we see consolidation of political and civil institutions, but also use of this slogan by the government has increased tension and political and social conflicts in the society. Perhaps its reason backs to the fact that our political elite are not feeling good with relativism and pragmatism and tend to see everything black and white.

In fact, the era of Khatami was era of struggle and tension between the reformist and conservative parties and effects of this tension can be clearly seen in the behavior of the political elite with press and the political parties, in a way that some of them were closed and some of them were arrested.

Perhaps, the main reason of these tensions in the social space of that time was due to fact that some of our political elite had not clarified their position with many of fundamental definitions related to political development and free political society and they had not clear position in some concepts and definitions as well as their transposition.

4.3. Political Elite Culture in Ahmadinejad Government

With the beginning of the ninth government and Ahmadinejad’s first period presidency, Iran’s political and cultural space closed to idealism of early revolution. With beginning of this period, (2006-2014) the emotional behaviors resulting from idealism can be seen in political elite dealing with people and in the interactions among themselves. In fact, his government is a manifestation of populism. These considerations suggest a multi-layered and complex nature of Ahmadinejad’s government. In describing the new conditions, one researcher attributed some features of this government, although it was exaggerated, confirming the complexity and multi-layered nature of that period. These features include: Deep fundamentalism, romanticism, populism, relying on oil and micro-bourgeoisie, the revival of traditional political discourse, public-centered, anti-modernity, anti-West and their practices such as Holocaust, reluctance to democracy and the values of civil society, negative developing attitude on end of development, rejection of theoretical foundations and confronting with West, particularly in the nuclear program and the slogan of the destruction of Israel, paying less attention to view of other people, especially scientists and intellectuals, poor relationships among universities and academic specialists with government officials resulting from their individualism on the affairs of the country.

If we want to analyze the performance of the political elite at this time with a realistic view, we must say that absolute imagination, idealism, and being in search of utopian community are seen in this period. That is why political elite paid less attention on cohesion and stability, but put more importance on tension and conflict.

5. The Efficiency Factors of the Political Elite

5.1. Circulation of the Elite

Various factors such as the law, spirit, and character of political actors, the dependence of the ruling classes and the elite in the government, as well as the lack of brain circulation plays an important role in the dynamicity of the elite. However, the two factors which are the lack of circulation of the ruling elite and modern nationalism are of special interest for political scholars in line with the establishment of government. Vilfredo Pareto holds that the lack of circulation of the elite is due to the inefficiency of political actors.

Whenever the ruling elite, as the main powerful political actors, lose their popularity among the public due to their high ambitions and inefficiency in recruiting new forces and whenever the ruling elite are removed from their power by the new forceful elite, the term “Movement or Circulation of the Elite” is used. In fact, the circulation of the elite, as a balancing factor in the political system and as a controlling factor in political and social changes, enjoys a decisive role in the stability of the political system. Hence, in case there is no, partial, or non-democratic circulation for the elite and also efficient political figures political are not able to participate in the legal participatory institutions or organizations through legitimate and peaceful channels; hence, they are forced to remove the inefficient elite through political negotiations or fighting using weaponry (Azghandi, 1997) .

In a society with these characteristics, we witness an inappropriate circulation or a cyclical circulation while the correct form to exercise within a society is the complementing model.

Unlike the modern industrial societies that create certain types of political ruling classes or the elite, the Third World countries lack the “vital center” (derived from the gradual economic, political, and social change in the middle class) as the essential context for the formation of the majority of elite the elite independently. In these countries, the elite are concentrated in different political, social, cultural, economic, sports fields. In other words, all elite groups owe their existence and position to the ruling individual, the ruling party or class. The ruling power that is manifested in a certain individual, a political party, or a specific class is regarded as a fundamental factor in the formation, persistence, collapse, and disintegration of the elite in various realms. In many Third World countries, there is not a well-established system of shared values but an ideological obedience which is offered by the ruling elite (Figure 1).

As a result, in this condition, as far as all the social classes obey the ruling elite, the government terms them as the elite; nonetheless, these classes lose their legitimacy within the ruling elite. Hence, as for the government, the elite groups (i.e., political organizations and the challenging power centers, must be dependent on the centrality of an individual, partisan, or a specific class-related structure; otherwise, they lose their social status since there is no link between social classes. This structure determines the elite’s composition, nature, and performance to engineer the society in order to advance its own objectives. Therefore, such a structure does not allow the elite to compete with one another; rather, the only distinguishing characteristic is loyalty to the regime.

In Western countries, the nature, composition and performance of the elite is significantly different. Hence, the circulation of the elite, unlike the third world countries which is often associated with violence, operates

Figure 1. The structure of concentric circles regarding the relationship between elite groups and governments in Third World countries (Daheshiar, 2002, p. 171) .

differently. In these countries, their base is not shaped by the so-called “Shadow of God”, but it is defined in the light of the interaction among social forces which evolve from the heart of the society. In this respect, such forces complement and compete each other. The elite position in society is determined through performance and is not identified by the degree of their dependence on the central power (Daheshiar, 2002) .

Unlike the elite in the Third World countries, who mostly belong to a particular social class or classes, the elite in Western countries do not evolve from a special class as they compete with one another to get access to some high privileges. While competition is encouraged in these countries, different groups of the elite are balanced in a way that there is no historical class or background that shapes a variety of elite groups, but their performance determines their status in the society (Daheshiar, 2002) (Figure 2).

5.2. A Way out of Partiality

The concept of “partiality” in the philosophy of history and political sociology of Ibn Khaldun was introduced as a basic element (along with nature, civil, kingdom, etc). Ibn Khaldun used “partiality” as the main factors in explaining the rise and fall of power of tribal powers and resulted governments from tribal authorities.

Geographically, Iran is among the countries was the origin of tribal life and it has been under the authority of alien tribal governance since old days. In this regard, we can use the concept of Ibn Khaldun’s partiality in explaining the rise and fall of tribal authority in Iran. The breakdown of tribal authority was not breakdown of Iran from its traditional society and culture.

The breakdown that started from preparation period of Constitutional Revolution is associated with some aspects of traditional society and their more and less compatibility with conditions of the contemporary society. Partiality can be detected from the elements that transferred from old traditional society to contemporary society.

Some features of new partiality can be considered as follows (Ghazi moradi, 2015) :

Ÿ If the origin of the partiality was relative or tribal solidarity, the origin of modern partiality is derived from the military elite or the mass movement.

The first modern partiality that challenged the old partiality and led to its overthrow was observed in the military elite partiality commanded by Reza Shah and Cossack Brigade that its result of emergence of the first modern partiality was the establishment of Pahlavi Kingdom.

Ÿ From an economic perspective, modern partiality, old partiality, is based on monopoly of partiality’s God, but if the foreigner or domestic monopoly of old partiality was based on direct involvement of police on looting, the modern partiality has relied more on financial capital flow obtained from oil selling.

Ÿ One of the differences of the modern partiality and old partiality is the nature of its holder forces. Tribal authority partiality was relied mainly on support of military force of states from central power, but in the modern partiality integrated police, especially security police, at the national level or special groups are the main guardians of regime and government.

Figure 2. The “self-centered” relationship among elite groups in the first world countries (Daheshiar, 2002” p. 174) .

Ÿ Politically, modern partiality views society or considers it as a tribe. Therefore, it assesses the policy issue as the framework of tribal policy. In short, tribe as a separate and closed space has Khan that is the embodiment of relative soul of tribe and all must follow and obey patriarchal authority.

Ÿ In terms of legal system, it should be said that in accordance with Ibn Khaldun’s theory, the maintenance of a tribe depends on partiality not law and the social contract. In fact, law or rule was a means in hand of Partiality Lord, while modern partiality that live in conditions of law establishment, legal organizations, public area of social life, has no escape either prevents from establishment of civil and social institutions, or deadlock them, if failed in the first case. A very important means that modern partiality carries out its extra legal actions is the multiplicity of decision centers in various areas of social activity. It can be called as multi-government policy, government in government, government beside government, government over the government, government guardian of government, etc.

Ÿ From cultural point of view, the most important propaganda of modern of partiality is patriarchy. Origins and sources of this patriarchy are rooted in past. In this regard, modern and old partialities are common. However, old partiality looks at past to find legitimacy, while legitimacy of modern partiality depends on past culturally, the past in which myth is sacred to be ideological shield of partiality.

Ÿ Psychologically, the reliance of partiality to arbitrary domination on people is based on fear. However, the distinction between old and new nervousness is that the former relies on a natural fear, tribal human fear of being isolated from his tribe that is his main shelter, while the function of partiality is very complex in modern partiality. It is the result of fear of helplessness compelling him to appeal modern partiality with his satisfaction.

6. Conclusion

This study divided the general problems into two basic steps: 1) The discovery phase of problems or troubleshooting; 2) Solving the problem phase.

Policy-making can be successful if and only if the solution is identified as appropriate. In general, policy-making processes may not come to failures due to applying wrong solutions to the problems which are identified clearly. Nevertheless, these processes will come to wrong and inappropriate solutions in case the problem is not identified beforehand. Hence, unless the problems are properly perceived, solutions alone cannot be the definite answers even though all facets and dimensions to them are considered. To sum up, finding appropriate measures and approaches for improving the political culture is the first step to identify the most important problems.

The elite political culture deals with the attitudes, feelings, and behavioral patterns of those recruited in prominent political posts; hence, they exert direct influence on the outputs of the system (Pai et al., 2001) . This culture is largely influenced by public policy-making.

Thus, the elite political culture is an attitude or mental environment within which the political system worksin the intellectual environment. Therefore, in practice, this environment guides and shapes the daily political choices in people’s lives. Since laymen pay less attention to the issues around them; they play a weaker role ultimately in the political dynamics. While the minority of the elite is capable of organizing a movement, in industrial countries, the legitimate participatory institutions (i.e., parties, syndicates, the press, universities, and executive centers) are considered as the most important centers for nurturing the elite. Unfortunately, in Iran, we have not yet witnessed these centers to act out efficiently to nurture and educate the political elite.

Thus, the elite political culture has always been Patrimonialistic. However, the characteristics of the elite culture include: citizenship and authoritarianism versus the law, fear of the government, subjectivism, imitation versus wisdom and applicable rationality, discourse and behavior blocking versus patience. The reason for these properties lies in the existence of polarity or a vertical relationship of political culture. In such a structure adaptation is prior to originality; hence, wisdom and talents are greatly undermined. In conclusion, the ideology or the culture of the contemporary political elite can be considered as the continuation of old patrimonialistic political culture.

However, in order to bring about development and change, or to solve a crisis or disease in a political system, it should be noted that both hardware-and software-related dimensions be considered as essential. The political culture is considered as the software-related dimension which is the underlying layer in a political system. Firstly, it is regarded as mental or as political culture; in other words, political culture is the manifestation of the current political system in the minds of the people within a specific society. Then, we can see its concrete realization in different organizations, political system, as well as social structure. Although political culture always interacts with the political structure and the bilateral interplay between the both is continuous, the experience throughout history as well as scientific theories has taught us that change in political culture comes first; otherwise, the emergence of social changes and revolutions are not justified.


*Corresponding author.

1Merely regarding knowledge-related issues or inherent, individual, and specific characteristics.

2According to Almond and Verba, Chilcot summarizes the adopted assumptions in the political culture in four categories:

1. Virtue and civil responsibility; 2. Participatory and pluralistic democracy; 3. A system based on rational bureaucracy; 4. Stability through modernization (Chilcott, 1999) .

Cite this paper
Ali Khosravi, M. and Fard, S. (2016) The Ruling Elite Political Culture in Contemporary Iran. Open Journal of Political Science, 6, 274-283. doi: 10.4236/ojps.2016.63025.
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