This chapter examines a range of competing discourses and sensibilities that circulate around the figure of the rammal. As a social type, the rammal is elusive and contradictory. Most people condemn the rammal as a peddler of superstition and charlatanry, often taken in contemporary discourses of rationality as their quintessential enemy. The rammal's elusiveness may be attributed in large part to the fact that the term is used in contemporary Iran to refer to a wide array of occult specialists. The chapter considers the ways in which the rammals are disparaged as charlatans and rammali as hocus-pocus, with emphasis on the processes of rationalization initiated by intellectuals, religious leaders, and state officials for policing the “line” crossed by Nafiseh. In particular, it discusses the denigration of superstition and nonsense, along with efforts by modernist critics such as Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to eliminate superstition, which they believed afflicted women.
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