Universiteit Leiden

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Precarize and divide

  • M.S. Morgana
woensdag 31 maart 2021
Rapenburg 73
2311 GJ Leiden

De verdediging is on-line te volgen via livestream.


This dissertation analyses political changes and social transformations in the Iranian labor realm from 1979 to 2009 through the lens of discursive shifts and transformations in hegemonic relations. Whereas workers were crucial to the success of the 1979 revolution, in 2009 they were absent as a collective force. This dissertation examines the reasons explaining this absence. It shows that – beyond state repression – the processes leading to workers’ "precarization," both structurally and discursively, hindered workers’ active role in shaping and determining grassroots politics.

On the one hand, legal, economic and social factors marginalized workers. On the other hand, the shifting context mirrored the Islamic Republic of Iran’s official discourse and its necessities to consolidate its power. As a result, workers were not able to develop robust solidarity-building mechanisms and cross-class alliances in 2009 as it was in 1979. Discourses and structural factors de facto intertwined. At the same time, structure and agency manifested themselves as being two sides of the same coin.

What makes this work a unique contribution to the fields of Iranian Studies, Middle Eastern Studies and Labor Studies is its approach, both methodological and theoretical. First, it draws on both workers’ words and words on workers, through the analysis of newspapers, statements, legal documents, as well as interviews with workers, former activists, scholars and legal experts conducted by the author in Iran. Second, it combines a bottom-up and a top-down perspectives to identify the multiple constructions of labor over time. Third, it explores the processes of "precarization" beyond mere economic or legal dimensions, by closely studying the discursive shifts and their connections to the evolving political context.

Lees de uitgebreide samenvatting (pdf)


  • Prof.dr. M.L.J.C. Schrover


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