Schooling (hetero)normative practices in the Islamic Republic of Iran

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Drawing on a critical discourse analysis of policy documents and textbooks, this paper contributes to the growing field of research on the role of schools and schooling with regards to the construction of gender and sexuality by focusing on school practices and educational spaces. We argue that the nation-state in the Islamic Republic of Iran is a religious biopolitical state and its official discourse in the realm of gender and sexuality relies on heteronormative as well as gender normative belief systems. School spaces are therefore constituted as strongly heteronormative, and non-heterosexuality is not recognised as a legitimate subject position. Through its everyday practices, the education system upholds the state’s ideology, by which the ideal/normal student is read as being heterosexual and cisgender, adhering to Islamic/state values, and constituted on the axis of strict gender binaries. Education about sexuality-gender diversity is therefore excluded and/or silenced. This paper aims to explore school discourses and practices in terms of gender and sexuality and how schools construct and regulate sexual and gender identities, with the aim of producing the ideal Islamic/Iranian subject.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)243-259
JournalSex Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 4 May 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Other keywords

  • gender
  • Heteronormativity
  • Islamic Republic of Iran
  • sexuality


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