Book Talk: Creating Local Democracy In Iran And Why It Failed

Book Talk: Creating Local Democracy In Iran And Why It Failed

A book talk by Kian Tajbakhsh (Columbia University)

Tuesday, February 28, 2023
4:00 PM (Pacific Time)
10383 Bunche Hall

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Empirically rich and theoretically informed, this book is an innovative analysis of political decentralization under the Islamic Republic of Iran. Drawing upon Kian Tajbakhsh’s twenty years of experience working with and researching local government in Iran, it uses original data and insights to explain how local government operates in towns and cities as a form of electoral authoritarianism. With a combination of historical, political, and financial field research, it explores the multifaceted dimensions of local power and how various ideologically opposed actors shaped local government as an integral component of authoritarian state-building. Ultimately, this book demonstrates how local government serves to undermine democratization and consolidate the Islamist regime. As Iran’s cities and towns grow and develop, their significance will only increase, and this study is vital to understanding their politics, administration, and influence.

Kian Tajbakhsh is a Senior Advisor at Columbia Global. In this role, Dr. Tajbakhsh works on university-wide initiatives focused on global migration and is the Coordinator of the Committee on Forced Migration. He is also a Faculty Fellow with Columbia’s Committee on Global Thought MA program. From 2016-2018 he was Professor of Urban Planning at Columbia. His book Creating Local Democracy In Iran: State-Building and the Politics of Decentralization was published by Cambridge University Press in 2022. He has written extensively and has been interviewed by major international media about the recent wave of Iran protests; His essay “Iran’s First Feminist Uprising” has been widely cited.

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Sponsor(s): Center for Near Eastern Studies