Authority and identity: The representation of gender relations in Iranian adolescent fiction

Sima Erami, University of Southern Denmark


This paper analyzes the representation of gender relations in selected Iranian novels for adolescents. Using van Leeuwen’s (2008) approach to critical discourse analysis, the paper investigates how the roles of fathers, mothers, sons and daughters inside and outside of the family are represented. Different patterns of authority and gender identity will emerge from the analysis of three families depicted in the novels:

  1. male domination combined with suppressed gender identity
  2. liberal authority combined with active gender identity
  3. patriarchal authority combined with passive gender identity.

Women, in these family types, regardless the contemporary family relationships in Iran, are respectively, suppressed, active and passive; men dominating, liberal and patriarchal, with all the conflicts of power, authority, justice and freedom this entails.

Key words: gender identity, socio-semiotic features, power, Iranian novel