Dissertation Abstracts

Gender and Citizenship in Tehran: A Sociological Study of Gender Differences of Right to the City

Author: Rahbari, Ladan , rahbari.ladan@gmail.com
Department: Social Sciences
University: University of Mazandaran, Iran
Supervisor: Professor Mahmoud Sharepour
Year of completion: 2014
Language of dissertation: Farsi

Keywords: class , gender , right to the city , space
Areas of Research: Women in Society , Human Rights and Global Justice , Regional and Urban Development


City is made of social spaces. Urban activities in this view must be approached as social processes taking place in urban public places. There is a mutual relationship between an urban space and a social action; as spaces facilitate, limit and hinder social actions, actions can form social spaces out of physical places. Space is constructed by three interactional forces: urban political economy, urban design and management, and urban socio-anthropological processes created by people. It is rather conceived space than real space that impacts social actions. In most societies, public urban spaces are not designed in a women-friendly manner. The contemporary urban geography is the natural result of the current status of women as a reproductive force in most societies. The ancient private/public space dualism is accepted as a cultural and ethical principal. The new emerging needs of women are not yet being considered in urban policy making. Feminist geography insists on reclaiming public space for women and localizing economy to fulfill women's expectations. Women in contemporary societies have different social roles, needs and problems from men. This distinctiveness, aside from its origins, is a social fact. The modern city seems to have ignored this fact, since urban spaces are built by and for men's usage and women's right to the city is being violated. The right to the city is a concept introduced and discussed by Henri Lefebvre. It refers to the freedom to construct and reconstruct the city and ourselves and the right to fully appropriate spaces and participate in all processes therein. Both components of right to the city can be approached from three dimensions. Hence, the right to the city is predicted by two concepts, each being formed by three components: the right to appropriation of the city consists of three components: animation, control and physical attribution; the right to participation in the city consists of participation in decision making, designing and construction of the city.
The purpose of this thesis is to investigate gender differences in the realization of right to the city by exploring gender differences in appropriation of and participation in the city within the context of Iran's capital. By applying both qualitative and quantitative methods within a research sample of male and female inhabitants in Tehran, first, Lefebvre's theory of right to the city is tested; then, gender differences in the perception of right to the city, gendered chance of enjoying the right to the city and social-spatial mechanisms through which women's right to the city is being denied will be explored within the framework of two sociological theories: Lefebvre's theory of right to the city/space and the socialist feminism.

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