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Maziyar Ghiabi

Maziyar Ghiabi is Departmental Lecturer in Modern Iranian History and Titular Lecturer at Wadham College

MPhil, DPhil Oxon

Maziyar Ghiabi's research interests are in political and historical ethnography; social history of modern Iran; drugs history; state formation; qualitative and participatory methods.

The first project explores the politics and history of prohibition and 'addiction' in the transnational Middle East and Mediterranean (1900-...) using archives and oral history in several countries (Iran, Lebanon, Egypt) to see how ideas about prohibition travelled across this region. 

Hi second project investigates smartphone and internet use among rural communities in central Iran. Following a group of shepherds in the central Iranian plateau, the project unearths the impact of the internet and communication in the life of Iranians, highlighting related medical and social phenomena, such as 'digital addictions'. The project is complemented by the production of a short ethnographic and photographic documentary, building up on the potential of visual methods in ethnographic storytelling.

His third project is a collaborative research with Dr Billie Jeanne Brownlee (Exeter University) on displacement politics across the Middle East. It looks at how large-scale movement of people following the civil wars and geopolitical conflicts ensuing the 'Arab Spring' has transformed processes of state formation in the region. It combines empirical research in multi-sited environments (Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Turkey, Iran) with theoretical inquiry. The project is part of a co-authored monograph currently under review for publication.

Maziyar's multidisciplinary research spans medical anthropology (addicted lives), politics (drug policy and state formation), and modern social history across the Middle East and Mediterranean and uses multiple methods, including archives, interviews, ethnography, film-making and photography as means of multi-layered engagement. His contributions come in different languages, including English, French, Italian, Persian, Arabic, and Portuguese. 

Before coming to Oxford as a Departmental Lecturer, Maziyar was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Paris School of Advanced Studies in Social Sciences (EHESS) and a member of the Institut de Recherche Interdisciplinaire des Enjeux Sociaux (IRIS). He obtained a Doctorate in Politics at the University of Oxford (St Antony’s College) where he was a Wellcome Trust Scholar in Society and Ethics (2013–2017). He edited the Special Issue on ‘Drugs, Politics and Society in the Global South’ published by Third World Quarterly. His first monograph is under contract by Cambridge University Press and will appear in Spring 2019.


Selected publications


Ghiabi, M. Drugs Politics: Managing Disorder in the Islamic Republic of Iran. London: Cambridge University Press, 2019.

Ghiabi, M (ed). Power and Illegal Drugs in the Global South. London: Routledge, 2018. 

Edited Special Issues:

Ghiabi, M. (ed.). Drugs, Politics and Society in the Global South. Special Issue of Third World Quarterly 39, 2 (2018). Forward by Philippe Bourgois (UCLA). 

Articles in peer-reviewed journals:

Ghiabi, M., ‘Le Ministère de la Crise : l’Art de Gouvernent en Iran et au-delà’, Critique Internationale (in press).

Ghiabi, M., ‘The dangerous class of street addicts in Iran’. In Stephanie Cronin (ed). Dangerous Classes in the Middle East. London: I.B. Tauris, 2019 (accepted, forthcoming).

Ghiabi, M. "Under the bridge in Tehran: Addiction, Poverty and Capital.Ethnography (2018),  (Open Access)

Ghiabi, M. "Drogues illégales et gestion de l’espace dans l’Iran moderne." Hérodote 2 (2018): 133-151, (Open Access)

Ghiabi, M (corresponding author) et al., ‘Islam and Cannabis: Legalisation and Religious Debate in Iran’, International Journal of Drug Policy, Vol. 56, 2018. (Open Access)

Ghiabi, M. ‘Spirit and Being: Interdisciplinary Reflections on Drugs across History and Politics’, Third World Quarterly 39, 2 (2018). (Open Access)

Ghiabi, M. ‘Maintaining Disorder: The Micropolitics of Drug Policy in Iran’, Third World Quarterly 39, 2 (2018). (Open Access)