Violence, gendered bodies, and heteronormativity: Rethinking the position of violence in the construction of gender and sexuality in post-revolutionary Iran
Málstofustjóri: Jón Ingvar Kjaran
The notion of heteronormativity captures the codes of conduct, which constitute and regulate bodies according to the normative performances of heterosexuality and cisgender. Heteronormativity, which itself has been produced through multiple violence regimes, can be understood as a form of violence that enables the social body to construct hegemonic patterns of conduct.
What this seminar brings into clearer focus is firstly redefining and rethinking the concept of violence with regards to gender and sexual minorities and secondly discuss its position and modalities, particularly in the areas of education, relationships, law, and medical systems, and how various violence regimes construct gender-sexual identities and heteronormative value system in post-revolutionary Iran.
Sjá ágrip erindanna hér fyrir neðan.
Violence, misrecognition and grievability
When we think of violence it is often at distance from us, it is something that happens to the other. Someone far away, not in our near kinship, friendship, or national circles. Yet violence is daily bread to many. In her most recent work Judith Butler discusses violence from the perspective of grievability. How people and groups judge whom to protect and whom it is acceptable to be violent towards. Groups and individuals that are understood as grievable: family members, famous people, people we feel a sense of kinship with are deemed of value and thus grievable; the people we seek to protect. The others are not construed as having grievable value. Through this sorting of individuals into categories we construct justifications for the perpetration of violence on these others who fail to fit into the structure of values. Through this violence becomes systemic and institutionalized as we exclude members of society. This leads to misrecognition of the subject and silencing of their voices in national and cultural discourse. In this brief discussion we will use Butler to examine how cultural and national discourse constructs grievability and how this leads to the misrecognition and silencing of those understood as “other” to frame the discussion in this seminar.
Lykilorð: Violence, misrecognition, grievability
Bodies Matter at School: Construction of Gender and Sexuality and Schooling in the Education System of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Drawing on ethnographic data from the urban area of Tehran, the capital of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the study presented here contributes to the growing field of research on the role of schooling and education with regards to gender and sexuality by focusing on school practices and educational spaces. We argue that the nation-state of the Islamic Republic of Iran is a religious biopolitical state. The official discourse relies on heteronormative as well as gender normative belief system. School spaces are therefore constituted as heteronormative and non-heterosexuality is not recognized as a legitimate subject position. Thus, the education system upholds the ideology of the state, by which the ideal/normal student is read as being heterosexual, adhering to Islamic /state values, and constituted on the axis of strict gender binaries. Education about sexual-gender diversity is therefore excluded and/or silenced. Drawing on interviews with gay identifying young men, as well as analyzing official policy documents (the curriculum) and selected textbooks, the aim here is to explore school practices in terms of gender and sexuality, and how schools construct and regulate sexual and gender identities, with the aim of producing the ideal Islamic/Iranian subject.
Lykilorð: Iran, sexuality, education
Trans Men and Trans Women in Contemporary Iranian Society: Reflecting on Mardanegi and Aberu
Mainstream media, mainly Anglophone represents sex change in Iran as an oppressive act of the Islamic state that is forced on homosexuals. The existing literature published outside Iran, too portrays trans as the construction of the state. I perceive these arguments as not only Islamophobic, but also homonormative and anti-trans. For, such arguments fail to notice the legal complexities of sex change and the knowledge of trans people who choose and want to undergo gender affirmation surgery to change their legal gender, which overlook the social and legal violence and discrimination against trans people in Iran. Drawing on semi-structured interviews with trans people, surgeons, lawyers, activists and an Islamic jurist in Iran between 2014 and 2017, I show how trans women are misrecognized and made invisible within Iranian law and society in comparison with trans men who are the public face of trans in Iran. In this paper, I discuss how trans men can benefit from transitioning to become men in comparison to trans women who experience social exclusion, violence and discrimination before and after transitioning. Moreover, I draw on the concept of masculinity in Persian mardanegi and the socio-cultural practices of aberu to illuminate practices of gender and social embodiment in contemporary Iran.
Lykilorð: trans, Iran, violence
Performing sexuality in a gender regime: the middle-class Iranian youth
In recent years, there have been a proliferation of studies and research on Iranian youths, their habits and lifestyles. The sentimental and sexual sphere, specifically, has often been mentioned as an example of the innovative and revolutionary requests and features of this generation, commonly depicted as transgressive and sexually disinhibited. Building on an extended literary review, ethnographic data and narrative interviews with young men and women of Tehran’s middle class, the present contribution aims to shed light on the multiple, complex and ambiguous ways this segment of the Iranian population engages with and concretely perform sentimental and sexual relationships in its everyday life. The empirical results indicate a much more intricate and multifaceted reality than what is commonly labelled, where sentimental relations and sexuality, although undoubtedly changing, still take shape within the framework of a gendered regime where discriminations and inequalities strongly influence the dynamics of power between individuals.
Lykilorð: Iran, young people, sexuality
„Violence regimes: Re(thinking) the concept and position of violence
The paper explores the concept and position of violence in relation to violence studies and gender regimes. The purpose is to develop violence regime as a feminist theory of violence to enable the analysis of multiple simultaneous intersectional modalities of violence. The aim is three-fold: First, to theorise violence regimes as a feminist post-disciplinary challenge to conventional directions of violence studies within criminology and psychology. Here, the paper shows how violence is normalised, an expression of power, and directed from the privileged towards the disadvantaged. Second, to use violence regimes to pose an empirical challenge to gender regimes: violence regimes is a framework to empirically examine if/how the institutionalisation and production of violence constitute distinct regimes, in turn enabling further comparison of violence to states and people. Third, the aim is to challenge the position of violence in social theory, often fragmented and peripheral. The paper deploys the concept of modality of violence to place violence at the centre of analysis by positioning violence as an organising principle, from which/where other inequality structures are understood. The paper is based on material and results from the VR-funded Violence Regimes (Sofia Strid, Dag Balkmar, Jeff Hearn (Örebro University), Anne Laure Humbert (Oxford Brookes University).
Lykilorð: Violence regime, gender, sexuality