Transnational Clerical Elite Network: Shiite Political Activism in the Middle East

Mohammad Kalantari

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The distinct role of different elite Shiite leaders in shaping current and future politics of the Middle East seems to be rooted in a strategic transnational political discourse. The historical development of the Islamic Shiite community in Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon which resulted in the leadership of Ayatollah Khomeini in the 1979 Islamic Revolution of Iran, the engagements of Grand Ayatollah Sistani in Iraq’s post-2003 politics, and of Hassan Nasrallah in today's Lebanon, suggests the role of a broad, transnational religious and socio-economic context in forming the sect’s political mobilization throughout the Middle East. The aim of this paper is to examine the role of this transnational context in encouraging political activism within a network of Shiite elites across Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon. Focusing on the historical socio-development of the Shiite communities of the region and the leadership role of the clerical elite, this study considers the impact of these on Shiite political activism within international, and transnational contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication55th Annual International Studies Association Convention, Toronto
Number of pages30
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Clerical Elite
  • Political Islam
  • Middle East
  • Trans-border Flows

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