Understanding the Iranian Blogosphere

We just read an excellent paper on the Iranian blogosphere by Nima Mina from SOAS at the University of London entitled “Blogs, Cyber-literature and Virtual Culture in Iran.” It was written as part of the George C. Marshall Center’s Occasional Paper Series. Dr. Mina’s work demonstrates how academics are beginning to have a more nuanced understanding of the Iranian blogosphere than conventional wisdom or the media would have us believe. As Iranian blogger Hamid Tehrani has also shown, the Iranian blogosphere is not just a space for would be democrats to write and debate, but is also used by Islamists and religious movements.

Perhaps the most interesting part of Mina’s paper is the four case studies that show how the Internet has supported the grassroots democracy movement within and outside of Iran. These cases include discussions of the online daily newspaper ROOZ and the “citizen journalism” Radio station Zamaneh, as well as the ability of banned literary figures such as Reza Hassemi and Mahshid Amirshahi to connect, communicate and find new audiences inside Iran. The ability of users to connect on the Internet to produce media, news and literature is well established, but the chance for exiled literary figures and their fans at home to connect in this way is an interesting and exciting phenomenon to study and better understand. We look forward to more work from Nima Mina on this theme.

These recent studies track closely with many of the findings from the I&D project’s own network and content analysis of the Iranian blogosphere, which shows that the blogosphere is a (filtered) communication space where a wide variety of political, literary and artistic themes are discussed by Iranian expats and a broad cross section of those living in Iran. We expect to release our study of the Iranian blogosphere next month, but until then check out our first two case studies on the use of the Internet and cell phones during elections in Ukraine and South Korea.

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One Response to “Understanding the Iranian Blogosphere”

  1. Hamid Tehrani Says:

    The link to hamid Tehrani’s article does not work. Please do the correction: http://www.hnn.us/articles/44774.html

    Thanks for your interest.