Doctoral student Barjasteh Amir Reza

33400 €

Epistemic Practices in Authoritarian Governance: The Case of Iran

Tieteellinen tutkimus / siihen pohjautuva työ | Yksivuotinen

Democracy has been recently declining in various states (e.g., Russia, the US, Hungary, and Iran). Surprisingly, populations within these societies find authoritarian claims compelling and hence embrace their agendas despite their negative effects on equality and social justice. This trend signals a mutation in authoritarian rhetorical politics. In my doctoral dissertation, I ask how authoritarian practices have been epistemically justified in the case of Iran. I investigate (1) in what epistemic contexts authoritarian claims thrive, (2) how gendered agendas are justified through epistemic practices in authoritarian governance, and (3) how neo-authoritarian actors seek to legitimate the repression of protests. The study analyses three textual datasets including various documents and political elites’ talks in three historical periods in Iran – first in the early twentieth century (in the 1900s), then around two opposite gendered policies before and after Iran’s revolution (in the 1930s and 1980s), and third during the recent “Women, Life, Freedom” uprising in Iran (in 2022). The processual approach here can provide a wider picture of discursive changes in the authoritarian mode of governance. The study draws on theories including epistemic governance, world society, norm dynamics, and securitization. It employs discourse and frame analyses along with corpus linguistics methods to investigate authoritarian justifications. This study hereby sheds nuanced light on political persuasions in authoritarian discourse and the discursive politics in their interventionist agendas, which might even lead to global crises (as evidenced in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine).