Islam and health policy: A study of the Islamic Republic of Iran

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

The Iranian revolution of 1979, inspired by Islamic precepts and presided over by Muslim religious figures, brought Islam to the forefront of social, political, and economic discussions. Subsequent events around the world, in which tragedies have far outweighed triumphs, have kept discussions and debate about Islam and development very much on the global agenda. Political pundits were forced to reformulate some of their conjectures about the Muslim world, while scholarly social critics were compelled to reassess their assumption that Islam as a sociopolitical force had outlived its potential. These events have also had practical consequences: Muslim leaders and development specialists began to reevaluate the influence-whether manifest or latent-of religious understandings, practices, and institutions on policy formation and implementation. While this reorientation has been far from complete, it provides a clear contrast to the middle decades of the twentieth century, when regimes throughout most of the Muslim world turned to nationalist or socialist rhetoric to garner (or maintain) legitimacy and sought to distance themselves from tradition and religion. The wide-ranging effect of this shift is too broad to explore in one study, but our understanding of how the explicit incorporation of religious principles has altered policy formation and implementation can be furthered through the analysis of postrevolutionary Iran. The purpose of this chapter is to examine the impact of religious doctrine, as refracted through political discourse, on health policy in Iran. To provide a backdrop for this discussion, a brief profile of health policies prior to the revolution follows.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationIslam and social policy
PublisherIndiana University Press
Pages181-206
Number of pages26
ISBN (Print)0826514464, 9780253355249
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)

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