Captive Society

The Basij Militia and Social Control in Iran

Saeid Golkar

Woodrow Wilson Center Press / Columbia University

Captive Society

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Pub Date: June 2015

ISBN: 9780231704427

256 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $60.00£50.00

Pub Date: June 2015

ISBN: 9780231801355

256 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $59.99£50.00

Captive Society

The Basij Militia and Social Control in Iran

Saeid Golkar

Woodrow Wilson Center Press / Columbia University

Iran's Organization for the Mobilization of the Oppressed (Sazeman-e Basij-e Mostazafan), commonly known as the Basij, is a paramilitary organization used by the regime to suppress dissidents, vote as a bloc, and indoctrinate Iranian citizens. Captive Society surveys the Basij's history, structure, and sociology, as well as its influence on Iranian society, its economy, and its educational system. Saied Golkar's account draws not only on published materials—including Basij and Revolutionary Guard publications, allied websites, and blogs—but also on his own informal communications with Basij members while studying and teaching in Iranian universities as recently as 2014. In addition, he incorporates findings from surveys and interviews he conducted while in Iran.

This is the first full-length study of this critical organization in the Iranian power structure. Saeid Golkar provides a comprehensive account of the Basij's organizational structure, insight into the social background of its membership, the training and indoctrination of the members, and the Basij's extensive security, watchdog, and propaganda role in Iranian society.

Shaul Bakhash, George Mason University

There is a dire need for a reliable survey of this important institution, and this book fills the vacuum.

Ahmad Ashraf, Columbia University

[An] important and timely book.... Highly recommended.

Choice

Each page all the more chilling.

BackChannels
List of Figures and Table
Preface
Acknowledgments
Part I. The Civil Militia and State Control
1. The Basij: Nongovernmental Organization, Administered Mass Organization, or Militia?
Part II. The Basij and the Shaping of an Insiders' Network
2. The History and Transformation of the Basij, 1980–2013
3. Penetration into Society: The Organizational Structure of the Basij
4. Mass Membership and Recruitment Training
5. The Mass Indoctrination of Basij Members
Part III. The Basij and the Suppression of Others
6. The Basij and Propaganda
7. The Basij and Moral Control
8. The Basij and Surveillance
9. The Basij and Political Repression
Part IV. The Basij and the Controlling of Societal Sectors
10. The Basij and the Controlling of Families
11. The Basij and the Controlling of Schools
12. The Basij and the Controlling of Universities
13. The Basij and the Controlling of the Economy
Part V. The Sociology of the Basij—Motivations and Loyalty
14. Basij Members—Islamic Warriors or Religious Thugs?
Conclusion: The Emergence of a Captive Society
Appendix: Excerpts from Official Basij Documents
Notes
Selected Bibliography
Index

About the Author

Saeid Golkar is a lecturer in Middle East and North African studies at Northwestern University and a visiting fellow for Iran policy at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. He was a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars from 2013 to 2014.