Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Herbert L. Smith

Second Advisor

Dr. Lewis Walker

Third Advisor

Dr. Dennis Simpson


With the decline of various forms of military and economic power of the more industrialized countries (MICs) as the primary control structure for maintaining the dominance/dependence relationships with the less industrialized countries (LICs) in the international political and economic system, science and technology has emerged as a significant means for sustaining international status quo.

The problem of the study was stated in two questions. First, why and how Iran (an LIC) became dependent on more industrialized countries' science and technology. Second, what effect(s) did Iran's scientific-technological dependency have on its social structure, and what is the more appropriate strategy for reducing and/or ending Iran's scientific-technological dependency?

The "Dependency" paradigm was chosen as the theoretical framework. Historical analysis was used to analyze and explain the reasons for and the mechanisms by which Iran became dependent on MICs' science-technology, by examining the general condition of Iran in the context of the global political-economic system during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The effects of Iran's scientific-technological dependency on its social structure was also empirically tested in terms of ten hypotheses. The emphasis was more on the internal factors, which the "Dependency" paradigm has been criticized for underestimating.

The following four factors have been decisive in the nature and direction of Iran's dependency on more industrialized countries. First, the military and economic significance of the strategic position of the Persian Gulf, which has facilitated the penetration of MICs into Iran. Second, the neighboring of Iran with the Soviet Union, which has gotten Iran involved in the international conflicts and rivalry among colonial powers and superpowers. Third, the historic role of despotic, arbitrary power of the Shah as the central authority beyond any systematic planning. And fourth, the development of the oil industry, and the emergence of Iran as a major oil exporting country.

The theoretical, research and policy implications of these findings were discussed. It was argued that "Selective Dissociation" seems to be an appropriate policy for an LIC to achieve scientific-technological autonomy, because it allows an LIC to synchronize its attempts for reducing its dependency and for increasing its capability.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access