Mari Nukii

Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department or School

Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology

Committee Member

Mansoor Moaddel, PhD, Chair

Committee Member

Denise Reiling, PhD

Committee Member

Janice Terry, PhD


In the spring of 1951, the Iranian government nationalized the British-controlled oil industry, supported by a massive popular movement. The National Front, which led the movement, mainly consisted of three social groups: the clergy (ulama), secular intellectuals, and the bazaaris (merchants, guilds, and artisans). Despite its importance, the role of the bazaaris has not sufficiently been articulated in previous studies.

This study analyzes the role of the Tehran bazaaris in the oil nationalization movement, focusing on the period of the first government of Mosaddeq. Protest event analysis is used to test the religious explanation and the economic explanation of the bazaaris’ political activities. The results reveal the rivalry among the Tehran bazaaris over the economic and political advantages. This paper shows how this rivalry was related to the oil nationalization movement.