Ladan Rahbari

Ladan Rahbari
University of Amsterdam | UVA · Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Doctor in Sociology, Doctor in Gender and Diversity (Studies) Master in Anthropology
Editing a book on migrant academics narratives of precarity and resilience

About

78
Publications
18,957
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204
Citations
Introduction
Ladan Rahbari is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Sociology, University of Amsterdam, and senior researcher at IMI. Rahbari was previously based in Ghent University as the recipient of an FWO (Research Foundation Flanders) post-doctoral fellowship (2019-2022) for her project on migrant motherhood and lived religion in Belgium. Rahbari has obtained a Ph.D. in Gender and Diversity (Studies) from UGent and VUB and has a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Mazandaran.
Additional affiliations
September 2020 - June 2022
University of Amsterdam
Position
  • Professor UD
November 2019 - October 2022
Ghent University
Position
  • PostDoc Position
January 2016 - May 2019
Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Position
  • Researcher
Education
October 2007 - July 2009
University of Tehran
Field of study
  • Cultural Anthropology
February 2002 - January 2006
University of Tehran
Field of study
  • Italian Language and Literature

Publications

Publications (78)
Article
Bodybuilding is a hyper-masculinized sport and widely perceived unfit for women. In Iran where women face struggles and spatial limitations to participate in sports, women bodybuilders are breaking the boundaries and becoming increasingly visible using digital media. This research studies two Instagram pages dedicated to Iranian women’s bodybuildin...
Article
Transnational solidarity has been taken up by feminist scholars, social scientists and activists who discuss or practice solidarity with the plights of different individuals, groups, and communities. This paper addresses transnational solidarity by investigating World Hijab Day, a campaign that shows solidarity with Muslim women by encouraging non‐...
Article
In Iran, the politically sanctioned discourses of embodiment and body management are based on binary notions of gender and sexuality. These discourses are contested by social trends that reflect political dissent. This article uses a combination of content and visual analysis of three Instagram profiles dedicated to fashion to answer the question:...
Article
In the autumn of 2014 in the city of Isfahan, a series of acid attacks targeted women who were driving in urban public spaces. The violence raised public fear among inhabitants of Isfahan. The Isfahan serial attacks were widely perceived as systematically organized and politically motivated. As a result of the attacks, Isfahan’s female inhabitants’...
Article
In Flanders-Belgium, a Belgo-Iranian politician has gained nationwide attention for her critique of Islam. Safai's political discourses are built around her opposition to the violation of women's rights in Iran, and to the hijab as a political-patriarchal symbol. Through this latter opposition, she has gained prominence among Flemish nationalists....
Article
The phenomenon of faking orgasms has been the subject of extensive feminist inquiry, but in contemporary Iran, where sex and sexuality remain sensitive and controversial topics, the topic has not received much scholarly attention. This exploratory pilot study uses qualitative methods to explore the prevalence and the reasons for faking orgasms amon...
Article
The Iranian state is notorious for its heteronormativity and policing regime in online and offline spaces. The question of how queer Iranians 'survive' this inquisitive and intrusive regime of surveillance and control has attracted scholarly interest across disciplines. The existing studies complicate the picture and show that queer spaces, practic...
Article
Full-text available
Women’s lower participation in male-dominated sports in Iran is perceived to be caused by religious and cultural forces. This article uses feminist scholarship to investigate whether belief in Islam plays a central role in forming women’s perceptions of sports participation and gender. Based on interviews with twenty-six women participants, the stu...
Chapter
Phrases such as ‘muscle drain’ (Spiro 2012, 487) or ‘brawn drain’ (Adjaye 2010, 30) are sometimes used to refer to the migration of highly skilled sportspeople, often from the ‘Global South’ and ‘less developed’ countries to the ‘Global North’ or ‘highly developed’ countries. While elite sportspeople often have high international mobility, their mo...
Article
Full-text available
In the contemporary legal system in Iran, child registration is closely tied to Islamicmarriage. The Civil Registration Law foresees a process for registering a child born to Islamicallymarried parents. This raises the question of what happens to children whose parents are not married.This paper uses literature review and content analysis methods a...
Article
Full-text available
During the past two decades or so, the emergence and ever-accelerating development of digital media have sparked scholarly interest, debates, and complex challenges across many disciplines in the social sciences and the humanities. Within this diverse scholarship, the research on digitality, gender, sexuality, and embodiment has contributed substan...
Article
Full-text available
Gender, sexuality and embodiment in digital spheres have been increasingly studied from various critical perspectives: From research highlighting the articulation of intimacies, desires, and sexualities in and through digital spaces to theoretical explorations of materiality in the digital realm. With such a high level of (inter)disciplinarity, the...
Article
Full-text available
In Iran, motherhood continues to be considered an important and essential part of women's social life. However, non-motherhood is gaining momentum as Iranian women increasingly choose to be childfree. This study explores women's perceptions of motherhood using the content of a Persian-language discussion and mini-blogging forum called Ninisite. Nin...
Chapter
The Islamic Republic of Iran is bound by the customary content of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In Iran's constitution, however, equality rights apply only to Muslims. Also, the protection by law in the constitution is granted to the citizens of the Islamic Republic exclusively within the framework of the Twelver Shiite interpretation...
Chapter
In dit essay heb ik vooral een onbeschroomde argumentatie willen ontwikkelen die ons kan helpen binationale huwelijken anders te interpreteren dan vanuit een antimigratiestandpunt. Om mijn punt te maken, ben ik ervan uitgegaan dat mensen ook kunnen trouwen om buitengewone redenen: buiten de ‘gebruikelijke’ reden voor een huwelijk, met name als basi...
Chapter
In dit essay bespreek ik eerst de tekortkomingen van het hedendaagse geïndividualiseerde zelfzorgdiscours in drie secties: ‘Individualisering van verantwoordelijkheid’, ‘Het maskeren van ongelijkheden’ en ‘Het ondermijnen van sociale verandering’. Daarna vertrek ik vanuit feministische ideeën rond liefde, zorg en ‘solidariteit’, om uit te leggen wa...
Technical Report
Full-text available
[the order of the list of contributors is random; the contributions have been equal] In our round table discussion on vulnerabilities and responsibilities of migrant teens, we focused on adolescents with a migration background living in Belgium. Although many of the participants have experience in migration settings outside of Belgium, the strategi...
Article
Full-text available
The Safavid society's approach to sexuality and gender has made it a reference for the "pre-modern" discourse, in which gender and sexuality manifest-in contemporary terminology-queerness and fluidity. While it is important not to romanticize the image of the Orient as a queer heaven, it is possible to consider Safavid society as an important site...
Preprint
Women's lower participation in the male-dominated sports in Iran is perceived to be caused by religious and cultural forces. This article uses feminist scholarship to investigate whether belief in Islam plays a central role in forming women's perceptions of sports participation and gender. Based on interviews with twenty-six women participants, the...
Article
Full-text available
Background Social support and social network members have been identified as an important factor in mitigating the effects of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) and improving the coping process for many survivors. Network oriented strategies have been advocated for among domestic violence survivors, as they help build on improving social suppo...
Article
Full-text available
Iran accepts temporary marriage to facilitate and sanctify sexual relationships. The concession of temporary marriage has, however, been the subject of controversy in the past four decades. One significant refutation of temporary marriage is related to its attempted usage in the case of child-adoption, sanctioned by both the state and some Shiʿi mu...
Article
Full-text available
Western societies hold dearly to the romantic heterosexual model of marriage. This model, which is seemingly based upon 'love' also relies on perceptions of racialized, economic, and identitarian similarity of the people in the relationship. This article discusses a non-mainstream form of marriage as implicit political solidarity with or among migr...
Chapter
This study is interested in the exploration of the sacralisation of everyday practices and objects, and marketization of the sacred in pilgrimage. Pilgrimage shrines are frequently attractions for vacationers engaged partly in ‘religious tourism’ or ‘pilgrimage tourism’ rather than in purely religious and spiritual journeys (Badone and Roseman 2010...
Preprint
Full-text available
This special issue of JDSR has two goals. First, it aims to bring together innovative and newly developed theoretical, empirical, analytical, and critical approaches in the study of gender, sexuality, and embodiment in digital spheres. Second, by connecting intersectionality and digitality, we aim to adopt an integrated approach that reflects the i...
Article
There is a general silence in research when it comes to the embodied experiences of older women. Older women are specially excluded from studies on beauty and embodiment because their age is perceived as a factor that makes their experience irrelevant. Older women also seldom occupy the position of the agentic subjects. This study explores older wo...
Article
Full-text available
Religion can be a source of both pressure and empowerment for mothers. It is sometimes speculated that Muslims have more negative attitudes toward childlessness, as Islam values and encourages procreation. Islam also has associated Muslim women's social position with motherhood. Motherhood is frequently mentioned in connection to birth giving, brea...
Chapter
Full-text available
This issue of Journal of Diversity and Gender Studies introduces some changes in the editorial team and in its publication format. As of September 2019, Ladan Rahbari and Tina Goethals have taken up the torch from Mieke Vandenbroucke as the new editors of DiGeSt. This editorial change was simultaneous to DiGeSt’s transition into an open access jou...
Article
Full-text available
Editorial of DiGeSt issue 7.1
Article
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The hijab has been considered a notable factor in increasing women’s tendency to practise beauty in Iran. Experiences of beauty practices by Iranian women in diaspora can shed light on the extent of the influence that the practice of (un)veiling might have on beauty regimes. This study uses semi-structured interviews amongst a group of Iranian wome...
Article
Full-text available
Women's position, identity, and value in Islam have been affected by androcentric interpretations of the Qur'an and hadith throughout Islamic history. Women's roles in society, as well as their position vis-à-vis Islamic sources and authority, have been shaped by these interpretations. In Shi'a Islam, due to the majority male clergy's resistance, w...
Preprint
Full-text available
The aim of this special issue is to capture and interrogate the existing multiplicity of ways in which gender and sexuality are articulated together with nationalist, anti-immigration, and right-wing populist discourses in contemporary European socio-political landscapes. Therefore, we are particularly interested in contributions which analyze the...
Article
Full-text available
In Islamic law, kinship is defined by consanguineal and affinal relationships. Birth and Islamic marriage are important events that define religious responsibilities of family members towards each other. Some responsibilities are connected to Mahramiyat, a framework of interpersonal relations that regulates marriages and interactions with the oppos...
Preprint
Full-text available
Changing Surroundings and Gender: Gendered Experiences and Gender-Sensitive Support in Migration Contexts This special issue explores the interrelation between changing surroundings and gender in the context of migration. Gender influences mobilities and drives migration patterns, experiences and expectations. Gender-specific needs and assets may...
Article
Full-text available
My entry to Belgium at the end of November 2015 went more straightforward than I expected. While visa processes for Iranian nationals are known to be excruciatingly long and hard-long and hard they were for me-my entry to the country went quite smoothly. As an academic with some experiences of international mobility, I had experienced lots of 'rand...
Article
Full-text available
This study investigates juristic Shi’i guidelines as well as philosophical and legal perspectives on marriage in the Iranian contemporary context where specific interpretations of Twelver Shi’a are encoded in civil law. The study discusses three important factors that contribute to the legal and juristic complexity of Shi’i marriage: (i) length of...
Article
Full-text available
The hijab has been the subject of public and academic debates that have polarized scholars, politicians, and activists. Opinions on veiling range widely: while some view veiling as an oppressive practice, others regard veiling as an expression of women's agency and empowerment. Solidarity practices, such as movements against compulsory veiling or a...
Preprint
Introduction Social support and social network members have been identified as an important factor in mitigating the effects of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) and improving the coping process for many survivors. Network oriented strategies have been advocated for among domestic violence survivors, as they help build on improving social sup...
Article
The female body has been in the foreground of nation-building in Iran especially since the 1930s projects of modernization, when unveiling women and adaptation to Western clothing became a crucial factor of bolstering modern Iranian national identity as opposed to a religion-based national identity. After the 1979 Revolution, the Islamic dress code...
Article
Full-text available
This article explores perceptions of Iranian academics of the relationship between women’s physical appearance and academic achievements. The research is conducted using interviews with academics working in different universities in the field of social sciences. Results included individual and structural explanations of the relationship between wom...
Article
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Introduction: In many Sub-Saharan African countries, women with infertility search relentlessly for treatment. Guided by the Partners for Applied Social Sciences model for health seeking behaviour and access to care research, this study aims to understand the health seeking behaviour of women with infertility in the West Coast region of The Gambia...
Thesis
This dissertation aims to contribute to the critical studies on Harmful Cultural Practices (HCP). HCP is a humanitarian framework associated with the critique of cultural traditions that promote gender inequality, violating women’s right to health, life, dignity and personal integrity. The HCP framework is predominantly used to scrutinize women’s b...
Article
Full-text available
This study investigates juristic Shi’i guidelines as well as philosophical and legal perspectives on marriage in the Iranian contemporary context where specific interpretations of Twelver Shi’a are encoded in civil law. The study discusses three important factors that contribute to the legal and juristic complexity of Shi’i marriage: (i) length of...
Article
This paper explores the significance of motherhood as a social institution in Shiʻa Islam and illustrates the cultural imaginary, the experiences, perceptions, and ideals of motherhood in the Shiʻa narratives around Fatima-Zahra. The study interrogates the role of religious and cultural inventories on Fatima-Zahra's motherhood as discourses of iden...
Article
Full-text available
The Safavid dynasty ruled Persia between sixteenth and eighteenth centuries and is known as a turning period in the political, social and religious trajectories of Persian history. The ethnographic literature about the Safavid Persian culture written by Western travelers is an indication of the forming relations between the West and the Orient. The...
Chapter
The study is conducted based on a life story narrative of a Muslim migrant woman from Iran, now living in Belgium. Her life story and experiences prior to and after migration are analysed to reveal how she has built and made sense of her religiosity in the European context. Muslim migrants in Europe have faced challenges defining their identity and...
Article
Full-text available
Background: There is an increasing awareness that infertility in Sub-Saharan Africa constitutes a severe social and public health problem. Few of the existing studies on infertility explicitly take into account the differences between women. However, how women experience infertility is formed by their various social positions. This research explore...
Chapter
This edited collection provides interdisciplinary, global, and multi-religious perspectives on the relationship between women’s identities, religion, and social change in the contemporary world.
Chapter
Although women’s independent migration is globally on the rise, female migrants are still prone to different forms of discrimination based on their gender, religion and skin colour. This paper is a qualitative study of female Iranian migrants living in Belgium. It is based on different methods used in anthropological inquiry, such as participant ob...
Article
Although different forms of vaginal cleansing practices are common throughout the world, studies relating to Iranian women’s experiences are scarce. This study uses the life-story method to give a thick description of one Iranian woman’s experience of vaginal practices, and the role nurturing plays in shaping attitudes towards the female genitalia...
Article
In this paper, drawing on notions, such as harmful cultural practices and beauty, and based on semi-structured interviews with young female university students in Iran, perceptions and experiences on beauty practices and cosmetic surgery are studied. We show how despite existing criticism of the gendered aspects of beauty practices among Iranian wo...
Article
The “What are you reading?” section invites (early-career) researchers to report on works that are deemed relevant to the field and that are of particular significance to the author's ongoing research. This “What are you reading?” contains a discussion of a number of works that deal with the (late) nineteenth century, including Stephanie Shields' “...
Article
Full-text available
This exploratory study investigated women’s perceptions of femininity among Mazandarani, Azeri and Kurdish female university students in Iran. The study was conducted using interviews with sixteen female university students. Analysis of interviews revealed that three main components predicted general understandings of the concept of femininity: per...
Chapter
Full-text available
This study investigated Iranian female amateur riders’ experiences and perceptions of horse riding in a sport arena largely appropriated by men. I suggest that women’s participation in sport in Iran must be analyzed in the context of patriarchal culture in which gender is a defining factor in one’s experiences and success, while social class may al...
Article
Full-text available
Iranian home is used as private, semi-private and public spaces. It has kept its traditional functions despite alterations in its structure and is a space for women to engage in caretaking and housekeeping activities. In this paper, I will discuss how modern architecture and its consequences such as the deletion of women-only spaces called Andaroon...
Article
Full-text available
This article addresses women's contemporary position in academia in Iran. By systematically reviewing available academic and official databases on women’s positions in academia published online or in print, the question is raised if women's current position and role in academia is the result of personal choice making or an existent systematic discr...
Chapter
In Iranian society, sexuality is regulated by cultural restrictions, prohibitions, taboos, and indirect regulations due to the country's traditional and highly religious culture. Socialization processes are gendered as a consequence of there being different rules of sexual behavior for men and women. Sexual activity such as masturbation, erotic beh...
Article
Half of Iran’s street children live in the country’s capital, Tehran. Street children spend the day and part of the night in the streets and engage in informal economic activities. They experience abuse, violence and psychological distress in public spaces. The street child issue in Iran is a transnational issue; according to official reports, up t...
Article
Full-text available
Two groups of factors have contributed to the formation of Iranian associations and academic individuals’ status as peripheral in the international social science academic arena. First group consists of external factors such as prevailing euro centrism, English language hegemony and inevitable political-economic problems. Second group of factors ar...
Article
The right to the city consists of the right to appropriate spaces and participate in processes therein. Appropriation is referred to having share of the space, using it, owning it and valuing it because it has use value. Participation in the city includes decision making, constructing and living in the urban space. Components of right to the city c...
Article
Full-text available
Debate about the possibility of building a global sociology has gained increasing importance in recent years. In dialogue with works that argue in favor of post-national sociologies as well as literature that criticizes the hegemony of the theories formulated in the so-called centers, this articles aims on reflecting the idea of global sociology. T...
Article
Full-text available
Lefebvre's right to the city is a radical rethinking of goals, definitions and contents of political units and the concept of participation has great importance in it. This project has used ladder of Arnestein as a conceptual construct to evaluate the different degrees of citizen participation and define their status in it and its relation to the i...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Debate about the possibility of building a global sociology has gained increasing importance in recent years. In dialogue with works that argue in favor of post-national sociologies as well as literature that criticizes the hegemony of the theories formulated in the so-called centers, this articles aims on reflecting the idea of global sociology. T...
Article
Many young women in Iran experience sexual disturbance and molestation in urban public spaces, but they usually do not refer to police to report the abuse or ask for help willingly, even in critical cases like acute sexual attacks. This research was conducted among 47 young women sexually victimized in Tehran. Semistructured interviews were conduct...
Conference Paper
The difference between death and Martyrdom in Iranian-Islamic culture is an irrefutable fact. Death is considered to be an inevitable fact while martyrdom is seen as a passage to the highest stages of human accomplishment. Devotion and self-sacrifice are key concepts for understanding the discourse of martyrdom in the Iranian culture. Although the...

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Projects (5)
Project
This project has received the Global Digital Cultures GDC seed grant (University of Amsterdam) in 2022, and is a collaboration between UvA faculties of Humanities (FGW) and Social and Behavioral Sciences (FMG). This project aims to investigate, through cross-cultural comparison, how digital dating apps reconfigure cultural attitudes to love and intimacy, and conversely how cultural attitudes influence digital dating practices. Existing literature has overlooked cultural context and primarily focused on men dating men. We focus on FLINT* (an acronym for female, lesbian, non-binary, and trans*) users of the application Hinge, whose slogan “designed to be deleted” promises users a sustained love-based dating experience rather than a hook-up. Working with Hinge users from India, Netherlands, Singapore, and Canada, we aim to investigate the entangled relationships between the perceptions of love and intimacy by FLINT* individuals, the specific cultural attitudes to romantic relationships in their locations, and the digital materialization of dating practices within the Hinge application. Bios of collaborators: Misha Kavka is Professor of Cross-Media Culture in the Media Studies Department at UvA. She has published widely on gender, sexuality, celebrity, and affect in relation to television, film, and media technologies. Ladan Rahbari is an Assistant Professor of Political Sociology at the Department of Sociology, a senior researcher at the International Migration Institute (IMI), and a member of Amsterdam Young Academy (AYA). Erinne Paisley is a junior lecturer in the UvA Media Studies Department; she is currently working on a book about the digital mediation of intimacy during COVID-19.
Project
This project seeks to research the relationship between lived religion, perceptions and experiences of motherhood among Shi'i women in diaspora (in Belgium). The project develops comprehensive multi-method qualitative research plan using content and critical discourse analysis, interviews, and ethnography. It investigates how Shiite women in the diaspora negotiate their mothering choices and maternal work at the intersection of social, gendered and religious identifications.
Project
Investigating forms of sexualities and genders, discourses, artistic forms of expression, and their entanglement with the religious and political contexts in in Safavid Period.