When I first saw the story a few days ago that the Iranian government wanted to review certain disciplines in Iranian universities, I wondered if sociology made the list. Indeed it did, among other academic fields of study:
Iranian Ministry of Science and Technology announced that 12 disciplines in the humanities will have to be revised before any further developments are approved in those fields.
Abolfazl Hassani, head of Education Development at the Ministry of Education, told reporters today that the fields of “law, human rights, women’s studies, economics, sociology, media, political science, philosophy, psychology, education, administration as well as cultural and artistic administration” are under review…
He added that the contents of these sciences as taught at present are not consistent with religious principles and are based on “Western culture.”
Hassani went on to say: “It is imperative that we revise the contents of these disciplines in view of our religious and indigenous ideology and principles.”
Why exactly are these disciplines under review? One guess is that these disciplines may be considered subversive in that they suggest ideas and values that don’t line up with the ideas and values of the Iranian government. This does seem to be the general nature of a lot of sociology: an interest in questioning why things are the way they are when they might be otherwise.