Using a Foucauldian perspective on power and resistance, this paper traces the history of oppositional movements founded by Iranian women to bring about fundamental social and political change during President Mohammad Khatami’s second administration (2001-2005). Denied the political rights, freedoms and opportunities available to oppositional groups operating in Western democratic countries, these feminist movements adopted a radically new strategy for winning social and political rights grounded in an everyday politics of social negation and social subversion of the status quo played out in urban public spaces. Referred to here as “presence-as-resistance,” this strategy constituted an everyday mode of opposition involving the performance in public spaces of those life practices—singing, bicycling, participating in sports, etc.—that are normatively and governmentally reserved for the private sphere of the home and/or gender-segregated spaces. My purpose here lies in showing how these modes of resistance worked to compel the authorities to relax their iron grip on women in Iranian society.
"Presence-as-Resistance: Feminist Activism and the Politics of Social Contestation in Iran,"
Journal of International Women's Studies: Vol. 24:
7, Article 2.
Available at: https://vc.bridgew.edu/jiws/vol24/iss7/2