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(Re)Fashioning the Body Politic: Women and the Politics of Dress in the Islamic Republic of Iran


(Re)Fashioning the Body Politic: Women and the Politics of Dress in the Islamic Republic of Iran

Abdmolaei, Shirin (2013) (Re)Fashioning the Body Politic: Women and the Politics of Dress in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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As dress has been acknowledged as a powerful tool to discipline the body, validate and exemplify the nation’s identity, and maintain control over the citizen-populace, the enforcement of dress codes on the citizenry by multiple governments throughout Iran’s past century has worked to undertake various political ventures. However, each regime has persistently been more focused on the clothed bodies of Iranian women, which has subjected women to extensive regulation and control.
In a country where women are currently subjected to the Islamic Regime’s dress codes, the enforcement of Islamic dress has been a crucial part of the regime’s policy towards women. Integral to the regime’s project and vital to the maintenance of their power, the imposition of dress codes has worked to determine women’s opportunities and privileges while preventing them from obtaining rights over their own bodies, sexualities and identities.
As much as the state has used Islamic dress to their ideological advantage, though, women too have realized the symbolic significance of clothing. This thesis examines what I call ‘alternative dress.’ Neither Western nor conventionally Islamic, urban Iranian women have begun adorning themselves in a myriad of colours and styles as an everyday form of nonverbal resistance and subversion to the state’s excessive hold over them. Probing into the politics of dress in Iran, this thesis explores the significance of alternative dress as a critical ideological challenge to not only state-constructed discourses of femininity, but to the state’s entire political venture.
This study, based on personal observations, library and internet research, and interviews examines how Iranian women are using the very bodies and the same aesthetic materials as the Islamic Regime to reclaim the bodies and assert the selves which the state has worked so vigorously to control and define.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Sociology and Anthropology
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Abdmolaei, Shirin
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Social and Cultural Anthropology
Date:August 2013
Thesis Supervisor(s):Hoodfar, Homa
ID Code:977770
Deposited On:26 Nov 2013 15:25
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:45
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