The Women’s Movement and Neo-Liberalism in Iran: Between Accommodation and Resistance

Povey, Tara. 2016. The Women’s Movement and Neo-Liberalism in Iran: Between Accommodation and Resistance. In: Shaminder Takhar, ed. Gender and Race Matter: Global Perspectives on Being a Woman. Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp. 23-40. ISBN 9781786350381 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

This chapter analyses the strategies employed by women and youth political activists in Iran in the context of changes engendered by the neo-liberal policies pursued by successive governments since the end of the Iran-Iraq war.

The analysis in this chapter is based on semi-structured interviews conducted by the author with women and youth activists in Iran in 2015. This qualitative data is contextualised within a theoretical discussion of the nature of the Iranian state, the impact of neo-liberal policies, and debates surrounding gender and neo-liberalism.

Contrary to the view of politics in Iran as a battle between hard-line religious fundamentalists and moderates, this chapter argues that it is not the religious nature of the state but its neo-liberal policies that have made it more difficult for women and youth activists to mobilise against the exclusionary policies of the state. In response activists in Iran have developed and articulated strategies of resistance to and accommodation with the Islamic Republic’s neo-liberal project.

The chapter breaks with prevailing socio-cultural analyses of women’s rights in Iran and provides a critique of prevalent ideas of women’s rights as innately connected to liberal and specifically neo-liberal forms of politics and governance.

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Book Section

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Iran, women, liberalism, neo-liberalism, activism, political change

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24 August 2016Published

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Date Deposited:

28 Feb 2022 09:30

Last Modified:

28 Feb 2022 09:30


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