The Sexual Economy of the Islamic Republic

This article was published in Journal of the International Society for Iranian Studies, Volume 42, No. 1, February 2009.


This article examines the gender and sexual policies of the Islamic Republic and their ramifications. It argues that the policies if the Islamist government cannot easily be categorized as “puritanical” or “moralistic.” Rather we can argue that various functions within the state actively deployed a new ”sexual economy” for the population. Sometimes, the Islamist state privileged patriarchal interpretations of the gender norms over modern ones. At other times, it adopted modern projects such as family planing alongside a discourse that presented them as practices rooted in traditional Islam. In all cases, the state used modern institutions to disseminate and enforce these practices.

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