Political Participation in Iran from Khatami to the Green Movement

20 May 2021. From 18:30 | Webinar | English | Online
slideshow image Iranian protesters flash victory signs during Friday prayers at a university in Tehran . 17 th of July 2009. REUTERS

How do grassroots activism and dissent survive in an authoritarian country? How do activists make space for criticism and political action? Can we conceive of a ‘simple’ binary between the State and society as an apt framework to understand contentious politics in an authoritarian country? Through an analysis of political participation in Iran since the 1990s, Paola Rivetti answers these questions and looks into how theory can help or hinder the understanding of politics. Rivetti is interested in Islamic reformism in Iran, defined as the “liberal and modern interpretation of Islam and Shari’a to make it comparable with modern values, democracy and human rights”. The Iranian variation of Islamic reformism that Rivetti tackles can be identified at the end of the war, in “post-1989 Iran”. At that moment, the county navigates between dualities: modernity and tradition, and Islam and democracy. In this vein, during the following decades, the country politics experience some contradictions: there is a promotion of civil society but repression of NGO’s and social movements. Hence, reformism is seen as a disciplinary project.  

Introduced by Olivia Glombitza, lecturer in the faculty of Political Sciences and Sociology (UAB). Co-organised with the Master’s in International Relations, Security and Development (UAB).



Olivia Glombitza

Professor Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Paola Rivetti

Associated Professor Dublin City University