Arbaeen Walk: Religious Ritual or Representative of Competitive Discourses


In this paper, my focus is on power dynamics and the competitive discourses within the Shiite community in the Gulf region, as manifested in the Arbaeen Walk. I define the Arbaeen Walk as a collective Shiite ritual with multiple layers, experienced as a sociocultural carnival by the masses, and serving as a sphere of power conflicts among Shiite discourses. To analyze these layers and power dynamics, I employ Bakhtin’s theory of the carnivalesque, Reicher’s theory of cooperation, Stuart Hall’s theory of representation, and Foucault’s discourse analysis. Specifically, I concentrate on Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain, which are significant countries in the Gulf region, and explore the power relations among different discourses within this context, as well as their representation in the Arbaeen Walk. Methodologically, this research is based on the analysis of available data from primary research, various articles on online news platforms, and available surveys such as Arab Barometer.


Soodeh Mansouri
Student, Graduate, University of California - Santa Barbara, United States


Presentation Type

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session


The Politics of Religion


Arbaeen Walk,Shiism,Political relations,representation,collective religious ritual

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