Discourse Analysis of Iranian Intellectuals about Law on the Edge of Constitutional Revolution (Study of Mirza Malcom Khan and Mostashar al-Dowleh)

Document Type: Research Paper


1 Ph.D. Student, Department of Social Sciences, Faculty of Literature and Humanities, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran

2 Associate Professor, Department of Social Sciences, Faculty of Literature and Humanities, Kharazmi University, Tehran, Iran


About 110 years ago, Iran experienced a revolution, which was known to be an attempt for development and modernization. The revolutionary roots had been established by new-coming social forces named as intellectuals. Since studying the past highlights the future, the necessity of intellectuals’ discourse as well as understanding their discourse strategies on the road to development and modernity should be taken into account. Accordingly the present research employs a quantitative method using discourse analysis technique and documentary reviews to analyze epistles written by Mirza Melkom Khan Nazem Al-Doleh and Mirza Yousef  Khan Mostashar Al-Doleh as two selected intellectuals about law and the Ghanoon Daily. The results indicated that Iranian intellectuals assumed political modernization as the preliminary and most prominent step for reaching development. They demanded for Constitutionalism and the rule of law, not as the main objective, but as a facilitator of development. In other words, development but not law was the major signifier of the intellectuals’ discourse achieving it became possible only through political reforms. Meanwhile, religion acted as the secondary assist and a justification for execution of new law in contrast to traditional law.  precedence of political parameter over economic, social and cultural reforms, applying absorption strategy via stimulation and incentive discourse pattern for integrating the opposing forces in their discuses , superficial understanding of the secular law concept in Europe and is association to religion and a dearth of awareness about cultural context were among characteristics of the intellectuals’ discourse  in this period.