Zep Kalb

Zep Kalb

13-11-2022

18:20

What have sociologists inside Iran said about the protests so far? #mahsa_amini #مهسا_امینی A short 🧵 translating & summarizing statements by abt a dozen Iranian academics

I will briefly review statements by these social scientists: - Somayeh Tohidlou (IHCS) - Gitti Khazai - Emad Afroogh (Baqer Ol Olum) - Yusuf Abazari (Tehran) - N. Fazeli (IHCS) - Fardin Alikhah (Gilan Uni) - SH Serajzadeh (Kharazmi) - Abbas Kazemi (ISCS) - M. Mehrayin (IHCS)

These are people w different opinions and affiliations. Afroogh for instance is a former conservative MP. But all have expressed sympathy w the protests and give their analysis on causes and ways forward. Let’s start:

Giti Khazai argues that protests are inevitable in a governance system w/o intermediary institutions. “Dialogue is blocked”, and this leads to the aggregation of heterogenous demands into large scale protest movements

Tohidlou points to the expansion of higher education after 1979, which provided opportunities for the expansion of a middle class identified principally by its cultural capital. Protests are a result of the gov’s failure to support this group economic/culturally, esp its women

Abazari argues that protests are a result of the IRI compromising with business interests since 79. The IRI has freely reinterpreted the revolution’s socio-economic principles, creating a consumerist market-driven society, but women can’t renegotiate their place in this system

Fazeli similarly points to cultural changes and the inability of the regime to adjust to the new reality. He argues that the current protests are a novel ‘cultural movement’ in so far as multiple socio-economic/political demands have become formulated in cultural terms

Sirajzadeh argues that ‘extreme fundamentalism’ is prominent among the ruling elite who ‘don’t care if the majority is w them or not’. The IRI shows tolerance to protests only as an administrative and disciplinary method, not to try and address demands

Kazemi argues that v young protestors were also common in 1979. Their higher visibility today is a product of Iran’s aging population. The older gens sympathize w young gen bc of lack of opportunities. Everyday life, always politicized in IRI, has become more radicalized

Mehrayin argues Iran protests are outcome of ahmadinejad, when populism became central as political model. Populism meant a new politics of the collective alongside growing individualism and social disintegration. Rouhani’s gov of moderate bureaucrats wasnt able to reverse that

Alikhah proposes a ‘life gap’: a growing opposition in Iran against old age and a willingness to live life autonomously and to its fullest. Unlike earlier countercultures, this life gap is not bound to social class. It is more mediated, eg by new technologies, and v pluralistic

Afroogh: the 79 revolution was pluralistic but made way for a single ideology articulated by the dominant group. This group claimed rights to being political, and tried to politically exclude the rest. Hijab / cultural protests are an expression of such political exclusion

I could only touch on a few main points here. The Iran Sociological Association is in the process of collecting these opinions. Link to ISA webpage:

I will update this thread in the future. If you come across any other Iran-based sociologist/social scientist whose statement wasn’t put on ISA, please dm me! Thanks for reading #Mahsa_Amini #مهسا_امینی

More on Afroogh here. @mashabani


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