The University of Arizona

Vanished in gaps, vanquished in rifts: the social ecology of urban spatial change in a working class residential area, Peykan-Shahr, Tehran, Iran

Ilia Farahani


The article aims to understand the forms and processes of socio-ecological changes following sociogeographical dislocation of workers in a working-class neighborhood (Peykan-Shahr) in Iran. The article integrates theories of gentrification and metabolic rift. Existing studies on urbanization in Iran refute the possibility of gentrification. This study, in contrast, by drawing attention to peculiarities of the capitalist economy in Iran, adapts the basic economic mechanisms of gentrification such as the rent/value gap and the concept of absolute rent, concluding that Peykan-Shahr is indeed in a process of gentrification. The theory of metabolic rift adds theoretical dimensions and complexity to the analysis and provides a richer understanding of the case. Grounded in Marx's labor theory of value, the analysis shows that by mediating the exploitation of labor/nature by capital through displacing workers from their houses, gentrification in Peykan-Shahr has caused a socio-ecological metabolic rift in terms of labor reproduction and deterioration of labor power.

Key words: Socio-ecological metabolic rift, gentrification, absolute rent, Marxism, labor reproduction, political economy of Iran. 

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