Islamophobia and malaise in anthropology

To be or not to be veiled in Iran
By Fariba Adelkhah

Civil society has become a key issue while analyzing the social and political developments in Iran throughout the last decade. In fact the stress on the civil society issue looks like the reassertion of an old thesis concerning the strategic antagonism between State and society. This latter approach provides an explanation of despotism or the lack of democracy as a dominant feature of the Iranian society. I would like in this paper first to point out the extent to which a pervasive Islamophobia is fuelling this approach to Iranian society, and secondly draw attention to what anthropology needs to remain, a science of context, in order to get rid of the clichés and highly polarized approaches which characterize certain studies.


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