Socio-Economic Stratification, Labor Issues, and the Labor Movement in Iran

Recorded: June 2, 2024
Event: Bilingual Lecture Series

Socio-Economic Stratification, Labor Issues, and the Labor Movement in Iran

Touraj Atabaki

نقش کارگران بیکار و ناپایدارکار در جنبشھای اعتراضی ایران ١۴٠٢-١٣٩۶ ) ٢٠١٧-٢٠٢٣(

The Agency of Unemployed and Precarious Workers in the Protest Movements of Iran 2017-2023

Azam Khatam

بحران اقتصادی وعدم استقلال معیشتی و زیست ِی زنان جوان ایران: از انطباق تا اعتراض

Economic Downturns and the Failure to Launch among Young Women in Iran: Adaptation, Protest and in-between

Mohammad Safavi

تاثیر سیاست ھای اقتصادی-اجتماعی حکومتی بر کارگران و ھمگرایی جنبش کارگری با دیگر جنبش ھا

The Impact of the socio-economic policies of the state on workers and convergence of the labor movement with other movements

About the Speakers

Kazem Alamdari is a retired faculty of sociology at California State University, Northridge. He has published ten books and numerous articles. His first book, Why Iran Lagged Behind and the West Moved Forward, has been published 19 times in Iran. His article “Religion and Development Revisited: Comparing Islam and Christianity with Reference to the Case of Iran” in the Journal of Developing Societies has been named one of “The 50 Most-Frequently-Read Articles.” As a public intellectual, he is frequently featured in the media and presents lectures at national and international conferences.




Touraj Atabaki is Senior Research Fellow at the International Institute of Social History and Professor Emeritus of Social History of the Middle East and Central Asia at Leiden University. Atabaki studied theoretical physics and later history at the University of London and Utrecht University. Following positions at Utrecht University and the University of Amsterdam, he joined Leiden University where he held the Chair of Social History of the Middle East and Central Asia. Atabaki’s research encompasses historiography, social history of labor and subaltern studies in 20th century Iran, the Ottoman empire, and Turkey, as well as the Caucasus and Central Asia. His forthcoming publications with Cambridge University Press are: Social History of the Iranian Oil Industry and Fallen in the Whirlwind: Life and Time of Iranian Migrant Labour and Political Activists during the Soviet Great Purge. Atabaki’s major publications and research projects can be found on:



Azam Khatam is a Research Affiliate at The City Institute, York University. She completed her PhD in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University in 2015. Dr. Khatam has previously worked as a urban planner and sociologist in Tehran in the 1990s and 2000s. Her publications include “Struggles over defining the moral city: Islam and urban public life in Iran,” in Herrera and Bayat (eds.) The Making of Muslim Youths: New Cultural Politics in the Global South and North; “The Space Reloaded: Publics and Politics on Enqelab Street in Tehran,” in Sharp and Panetta (eds.) Urbanism and the Arab Uprisings, Beyond the Square.




Mohammad Safavi was born in Abadan, Iran. In 1975, he was hired as a project-based worker in the construction sector of the “Iran-Japan Petrochemical Company” in the town of Jarrahi (Besat) in the province of Khuzestan. That is where he became a Labor activist; an active member (1978-1980) of the “Independent Syndicate of the Seasonal Workers of Abadan Region.” During the Iran-Iraq war, he was working as a project-based worker in the construction section of the Power Field of Esfahan. He left Iran in 1980s, and after his emigration to Canada, he started working as a baker in 1988 in a large industrial baking company (Canada Bread). For 15 years he served as a workers’ representative in the Committees for Safety, Security, and Hygiene. He had also become a member of the Union of the Automobile Workers (CAW), and the Union of Food Workers (UFCW1518).  Safavi has published several articles in Persian and English on labor issues in journals such as Women’s View,  Feminist School, and Kar-Mozd. His article on “The formation of the seasonal and project-based workers in Abadan” was published in the book Iran’s Struggles for Social Justice, edited by Peyman Vahabzadeh, 2016.