Envisioning a Real Utopia in Iran

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 11:00 AM
Room: F205
Oral Presentation
Simin FADAEE , Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany

The Real Utopia scholarship is overwhelmingly focused on cases that take place in liberal democratic political systems. It remains unclear however, how real utopias can be envisioned and realized in the absence of a vibrant public sphere. In this paper I present original research on a utopian project in Iran, an initiative called Sustainable Living which is a cooperative that embraces an alternative lifestyle and whose aim is to create Iran’s first eco-village. Through an analysis of this initiative I elucidate how a real utopian vision becomes desired and acted upon in Iranian society. I demonstrate the channels through which utopian visions are circulated and are adapted to local context in Iran, and ultimately I seek to broaden our understanding of the realization of emancipatory social science. Hence, I not only show how utopias are envisioned in Iran but I examine the groundbreaking struggle of people to make them real in a restrictive political environment.