The New Civil Sphere and Its Limits: The Green Movement, Democratization among the Youth, the Gender Question, and the Inauguration of a New Type of Social Movement
The Green Movement was the culmination of more than three decades of change in Iran. Students, intellectuals, feminist and middle class movements, found an outlet to express democratization from below within a theocratic regime that denied legitimacy to them. The Iranian Green Movement inaugurated the cycle of movements that would find their apogee in the so-called Arab Spring. The Green Movement showed the development of a “civil sphere” that transcended the religious bent of the Islamic Revolution proper. Still, the Green Movement’s failure to change Iran’s predicament (whereas in Tunisia it was “successful”) points to the inadequacy of this civil sphere. Anthropological fieldwork on Iranian youth in the years 2001- 2005 in three major Iranian cities (Tehran, Qazvin and Qom) sheds light on both the characteristics of this new civil sphere and its weak spots.