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Beyond the burka : tracing the semiotic value of clothing from Pre-Monarchy to Post-Revolutionary Period in 20th century Iran
vi, 23 p. : ill.
In the discussions of Iran's sociopolitical situation, a focal point of conversation is the imposed dress code. The sudden imposition of a strict, outwardly Islamic dress code simultaneously shocked and distressed the western world greatly, as it provided a stark, visible indication of the regime's perception of the concept of citizen's rights to selfdetermination, or on an even more basic level, who even holds basic rights as a citizen as the term is defined on the global level. The most notable and important omission from this conversation is the greater social and historical cause and effect that led into this drastic imposition. It did not occur in a vacuum and is not solely, as the bulk of the discussion would indicate, strictly the result of patently Islamic thought or a trend towards religious fundamentalism. It is rather the result of a series of important social and political changes resulting from the precedent set by longstanding conventions in Iranian society and the changes brought to these conventions by modernity. Most important of the modern conventions at work is the advent of the camera, and the mass media that came shortly after. In order to enrich the understanding of modern Iranian visual norms, I use Roland Barthes' work on clothing and fashion, as his work provides a detailed and relevant theoretical framework and makes a good argument for the direct correlation between stylistic fluctuations in clothing and the state of social politics. I trace and analyze images in which clothing functions as the most important semiotic code to show their succession leading into revolutionary and post revolutionary forms, expanding the conversation to include antibourgeoisie sentiment as an influence in the generation of images created by Iranians about Iran or its citizens.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 22-23).
Rhetoric and Writing Studies
Arts and Letters
Master of Arts (M.A.) San Diego State University, 2012
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