Ecotours and Politics of Fun in Iran: From Contested State-Society Relations to Emancipatory Nature-Society Relations

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Abstract

This article shows how nature-society relations in Iran’s burgeoning ecotourism industry are influenced by power-laden state-society relations and the state’s regulation of public space. Based on original research, this article demonstrates that ecotours operate as a means through which young middle class residents of Tehran practice fun beyond the socio-political restrictions they face in the city’s public sphere. Non-human nature represents a safe setting for these ecotourists to engage in restricted ‘unislamic’ practices of self-expression and socialisation. In other words, the non-human nature functions as a zone of transgression. This article provides an example of how the nature-society interface can provide opportunities to defy conservative social norms in a restricted socio-political system and it shows that the influence of political systems on nature-society relations requires more explicit analysis. Moreover, it enhances our understanding of everyday politics in a society where social conducts in public sphere are heavily controlled.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1276-1291
Number of pages16
JournalThe Sociological Review
Volume66
Issue number6
Early online date4 May 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Keywords

  • everyday politics
  • state-society relations
  • leisure culture
  • Nature
  • ecotourism
  • Iran

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