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Religio-patriarchy and the gendered risk : the regulation of Iranian femininity in public spaces through the veil El-Hage, Toni

Abstract

This thesis addresses questions and dynamics of gender and power in Iran, after the Iranian revolution of 1978-1979. My research objective is to uncover the normative assumptions about heterosexual masculinity and femininity that have been formulated, shaped, and reinforced through the re-application and reinterpretation of hegemonic religious edicts. Specifically, I will argue that, since the Iranian Revolution of 1979, the regulation of femininity and female sexuality in public spaces has been attempted by the ruling Iranian religio-patriarchal theocracy through the construction of women's bodies both as socio-sexual risk and as at risk within the parameters of public spaces. I suggest that they have done so because women represent risk that potentially threatens not only the ruling theocracy's hegemony, but the very fabric of society. Foucauldian theories of the repressive hypothesis and the surveillance system are used to explore not only how the veil continues to be used in Iran as an instrument of control in the formation of female compliance but, conversely, how many women in Islam have used the veil to gain varying degrees of public mobility and freedom under strict fundament-Islamic scopic regimes.

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