Purges of Iranian universities are feared; they are viewed as incubators of student unrest which fuels the larger social movement ever-evolving in that country.* Today, the Times reports that social sciences are particularly critical to the movement, and likely to be banned by the government:
Ayatollah Khamenei said this week that the study of social sciences “promotes doubts and uncertainty.”
Ah, yes. Doubt and uncertainty. We should avoid those in college.
The government’s supervision of social sciences is nothing new:
For years, the study of subjects like philosophy and sociology has been viewed suspiciously by Iranian conservatives.
As indeed, they should. We are a fierce and powerful study. (Eep: plagued by self-doubt.)
At the end of the article we’re given an account of the timing, which is the arrest and forced confession of,
Saeed Hajjarian, who had been the theoretician behind the reform movement, [which] was broadcast on national television.
I have to give props to Hajjarian for having one of the coolest jobs I can imagine: theoretician of a social revolution. That is bad ass. Anyway, Hajjarian was put on TV and coerced into:
a lengthy criticism of human sciences, especially sociology and political science.
Although it isn’t funny to incarcerate, beat, and ideologically control your populace, Iran’s government gets the big laffs having political prisoners disavow Parsons’ AGIL scheme.
So can I now make a call for all sociologists to stop crying into their pillows about our peripheral presence in social policy and politics? We are enemy no. 1 in Iran–isn’t that enough?
P.S. or whatever: If the purges go down, we’ll need to throw our weight around a little, m’kay? Because kids deserve to learn, and teachers to teach, and it is as simple as that.
* I recently read Shah of Shahs which I would recommend if you have a high tolerance for New Journalism and an interest in the ’79 Iranian revolution.