The rise of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and of revolutionary hard-liners makes it difficult to maintain that the Islamic Revolution ended either with the victory of pragmatism and Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani's program of economic reconstruction in 1989, or with the rise of the reform movement under Mohammad Khatami's leadership in 1997. The sociology of revolution has typically focused on the short-term revolutionary process that ends with the victory of one of the contending groups and the elimination of the others. This process in fact merges into a more drawn-out struggle among the children of the revolution for the definition of the new political order or the constitutional politics of postrevolutionary reconstruction. The regime set up by Ruhollah Khomeini had a mixed constitution consisting of three elements: theocratic or clericalist, republican or democratic, and populist and egalitarian centered on social justice. The first was developed during the decade after his death, while Khatami's attempt to realize the republican component of the heritage failed, leaving the unclaimed populism and social-justice component to be championed by Ahmadinejad and the hard-liners in a throwback to the original revolutionism.

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