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Title: Drugs, addiction and the state in Iran : the art of managing disorder
Author: Ghiabi, Maziyar
ISNI:       0000 0004 7229 0828
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis explores the politics of drugs and addiction in Iran in light of processes of state formation. The case of Iran provides a paradigm of what has come to be known as the 'War on Drugs' in a political and cultural setting that has been characterised, by most of the area studies literature, by other investigations and scholarly questions. Iran, nevertheless, represents an outstanding case for the study of the War on Drugs; it is at the geopolitical crossroads of international drug routes, it has one of the world highest rates of drug 'addiction' - estimated at between 2-3% and 6-7% of the entire population - and it has progressively seen the rise of synthetic, industrial drugs, such as methamphetamines (shisheh). The thesis situates the phenomenon of drug use in the social and political history of Iran with a particular attention to the transformations taking place after the Islamic Revolution in 1979. It provides a genealogical map of policy experimentations in the field of drugs, while it also casts light on the rationale that governs the formation and transformation of state practices vis à vis drugs, especially during the reformist and post-reformist period (1997-2013). To do so, the research combines extensive archival research using Persian sources (newspapers, reports, films, memoires, etc.) starting from the early 1900s, with ethnographic fieldwork in public clinics, rehab centres, drug using hotspots and, more generally, the street. The outcome is an in-depth engagement with narcotic politics, which unearths unstudied dynamics of Iran's contemporary politics and society. Instead of moralising approaches, what is unveiled is a state that adopts both rhetoric and practice that are secularised and in tune with Western models of policymaking. Eventually, the thesis reveals how the image of the Iranian state has not only been misplaced, but it has also been a myth.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Wellcome Trust
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Iran ; Political ethnogrpahy ; State formation ; Middle East ; Addiction ; Drug control ; Ethnography ; Politics ; Drugs