Psychoanalysis, Culture & Society

, Volume 23, Issue 4, pp 401–418 | Cite as

The morbid dance of ideology on the scaffold: On subjectivity and capital punishment in Iran

  • Sajad KabganiEmail author
  • Amin Zargarian
  • Matthew Clarke


In this paper we examine the discursive structures adopted by the Iranian state in the context of public execution. Specifically, we argue that the state’s insistence upon executing an offender in public is nourished by an intangible yet efficacious violence that has politically and psychically determinative consequences. As such, what is foregrounded in this paper are not the legal aspects of executing the offender and the act itself, but the visibility of this act and its after-effects in terms of the formation of particular subjectivity. The paper’s analysis draws on examinations of the psycho-discursive structure of the punitive state from the points of view of thinkers such as Foucault, Butler and Lacan.


public execution Iran violence subjectivity Lacan 


Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Foreign Languages and LinguisticsShiraz UniversityShirazIran
  2. 2.School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of ArtsUniversity of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia
  3. 3.School of EducationYork St. John UniversityYorkUK

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