عنوان مقاله [English]
نویسنده [English]چکیده [English]
From a long time ago, petitioning was a part of the political and social behavior of the Iranians and it can be considered as a part of their national culture. This culture was common both before and after the advent of Islam in Iran. During the median era and centuries after that, governments endorsed the culture of petitioning by instituting judicial courts. Adjusting to Western culture during the Qajar era created wide displacements in the culture and civilization of Iranians; however, this did not disturb the culture of petitioning; rather this culture continued and became more widespread with the growth of mass media in different forms, such as newspapers, and with the foundation of new institutions such as the Great Royal Consultation House and governmental ministries. Following the Constitutional Movement and the institution of the National Consultative Assembly, the culture of petitioning became a dominant culture, not only for making lawsuits but also for dealing with everyday issues and problems of the lower classes. With the formation of the Commission of Petitions in the National Consultative Assembly, dealing with people's petitions became one of the main functions of the legislative institution in Iran. Although this function originated from a misinterpretation of the legislative institution’s purpose, it resulted in the creation of a unique study resource for historians in the field of social history: the "petition records".
The findings of the present study show some of the reasons for such a misinterpretation of the legislative institution’s purpose. By making a comparative review of the petitions of the era of the National Consultative Assembly with those of the the era before the formation of the Legislative Branch – especially in the Naseri Era - the study analyses people's understanding of the legislative institution. Another part of this article presents a new categorization of the content of these records and draws attention to their other features. Thus an effort is made to analyze the status and importance of these records as a resource for studying social history and the history of lower classes.