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Associate Professor of International StudiesSimon Fraser Universitynazanin_shahrokni@sfu.ca

Nazanin Shahrokni

gender & the geopolitics of "homemaking" under duress

Local norms & expectations

Household

National politics & entanglements

Geopolitical encounters & entanglements

Economic Sanctions

The State

Transregional Dialogues

  • ONE move away from Iranian/Middle Eastern exceptionalism
  • TWO put Middle East Studies in dialogue with other regional studies
  • ONE bring sanctions studies (international relations) in dialogue with austerity studies
  • TWO draw on feminist geopolitics and feminist everyday political economy

Interdisciplinary Dialogues

Objectives

Iran under sanctions

Iran under sanctions

These are women who experienced upward mobility prior to the recent sanctions. - they range in age from 24 to 69- all but three had at least a bachelor’s degree- all but eight were married- all but five had full-time paid jobs outside the home

METHODOLOGY

This project draws on 10 unstructured and 52 semi-structured interviews with women from middle-class households in Tehran, who were invited to reflect on the ways their lives adjusted between 2015-2021.

Physical/Mental Fatigue

Time Poverty

Triple Labor

  • triple labor & time poverty deplete energies & exhaust bodies.
  • due to the state's austerity measures, resources for replenishment have been reduced or privatized.
  • time is an unevenly distributed resource
  • the scarcity of discretionary time
  • the gender gap created by material constraints and cultural expectations
  • home as a site of production & reproduction
  • increased unpaid work
  • increased care work

Shifting Household Dynamics

  • home as a site of production & reproduction
  • increased unpaid work
  • increased care work

Triple Labor

Mansoureh

Akram used to clean and tidy up the house. But she could no longer afford to live in Tehran, so she went back to her hometown. Now I come back from work, take my veil off, and the second shift begins.

Saba

When Amir arrives from work, I make sure that Hasti [her daughter] doesn’t approach him with unreasonable requests. Anything can be triggering. He needs to be pampered, so I give him space, let him rest a bit, offer him juice or something. Men are weak, you know! They don’t have our energy, can’t multitask. He is under a lot of pressure. We have a lot of debt.

Narges

Once I went to buy pickles, I noticed that for 15 small pickles I had to pay 25,000 tomans. I bought 3 kilos of cucumber instead, made the pickles myself and managed to give a few jars to my friends and relatives as well. It made me proud, because I saved a lot of money. I even joked with my husband that, if people really like my pickles, I will start a home business, by turning my kitchen counter into a production line!

Time Poverty

Time stretchingWaking up before & going to bed after other houdshold members, with little or no rest in between
  • time is an unevenly distributed resource
  • the scarcity of discretionary time
  • the gender gap created by material constraints and cultural expectations

Afsaneh

Before we used to buy our monthly meat all at once from our neighborhood butcher. Now, on a monthly basis we might consume the same amount, well a little less perhaps, but I buy it in smaller portions every week.

Neda

We now go to discount stores [Haji Arzooni]. It's a bit far, but I buy almost the same amount of everything for similar prices [to those before the crisis]. It's all about managing our money and time effectively.

Physical/Mental Fatigue

  • triple labor & time poverty deplete energies & exhaust bodies.
  • due to the state's austerity measures, resources for replenishment have been reduced or privatized.

Effat

I had fibroids. The doctor told me surgery was necessary but I decided to postpone it until after Nowruz [the New Year in Iran], because usually around the New Year our spending goes up. And this year in particular with the inflation and all I just couldn't deal with this extra and unexpected expenditure. By the time I went for the surgery, I was suffering from intense bleeding and pain.

Negar

As a family we loved going to the movies. Five, six years ago, the ticket was around 4 to 6 thousand tomans; now it’s around 15 to 18 thousands! So, we have joined Namava and watch movies at home. But of course I'll have to clean up after everyone.Restaurants have also become verypricy. Sometimes, I pretend to be Colonel Sanders and make fried chicken for the family, and that’s that!

HOMEMAKING

FEELING AT HOME

HOME

Concept Triptych

My friend complains thather husband comes back home completely knackered. And that their home is like a hotel to her husband. If a man cannot provide or does not have the energy to interact,talk, laugh or cry with you, why would I want to marry him?

Sanaz

If I were to marry, I'd lose the autonomy and little freedom I have now. I'd become legally dependent on a man, and I'd have to negotiate for my right to divorce, to get a passport, to travel.

Shahla

Once Sina tripped and fell on the ground. I had my back turned. I heard his scream, turned, and saw him on the floor. My firstreaction was ‘God I hope his trousers are not torn!’ This is sad. I was more worried about the cost of buying him new trousers than about him getting hurt!

Gender roles ashomemaker vs breadwinnerreinforced

masculinity defined by "lack"

to perform their role as breadwinner, men are further pushed away from the home

proactive femininityto perform their role as homemakers, women are further entrenched in the home

Patriarchal Gender Structure

“an emerging shared austerity reality”

RelationalityIntersectionality

The emphasis on the ways in which political interactions and decisions at the (inter)national level are reflected in, and shape, the everyday, the recognition that the (inter)national is personal, underlies my attempt to “domesticate” economic sanctions.

Local norms & expectations

Household

National policies, politics & entanglements

Geopolitical encounters & entanglements

EconomicSanctions

The State

NAZANIN SHAHROKNISCHOOL FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDIESSIMON FRASER UNIVERSITY, CANADAnazanin_shahrokni@sfu.ca

Thank you

Global Entanglement & Influences

Increased Public Presence of Women

Unanticipated Policy Outcomes

SHIFTS IN POLICY PROCESS CONTEXT