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Blogistan: The Internet and Politics in Iran

Blogistan: The Internet and Politics in Iran
Annabelle Sreberny, Gholam Khiabany

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The protests unleashed by Iran's disputed presidential election in June 2009 brought the Islamic Republic's vigorous cyber culture to the world's attention. Iran has an estimated 700,000 bloggers, and new media such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube were thought to have played a key role in spreading news of the protests. The internet is often celebrated as an agent of social change in countries like Iran, but most literature on the subject has struggled to grasp what this new phenomenon actually means. How is it different from print culture? Is it really a new public sphere? Will the Iranian blogosphere create a culture of dissidence, which eventually overpowers the Islamist regime? In this groundbreaking work, the authors give a flavour of contemporary internet culture in Iran and analyse how this new form of communication is affecting the social and political life of the country. Although they warn against stereotyping bloggers as dissidents, they argue that the internet is changing things in ways which neither the government nor the democracy movement could have anticipated.

"Blogistan" offers both a new reading of Iranian politics and a new conceptual framework for understanding the politics of the internet, with implications for the wider Middle East, China and beyond.

Author Info

Annabelle Sreberny is Professor of Global Media and Communications and Director of the Centre for Media and Film Studies at SOAS, University of London.

Gholam Khiabany is Reader in International Communications in the Department of Applied Social Sciences, London Metropolitan University.


Judicious, informed, sympathetic... announces a whole new generation of scholarship in the field.
– Hamid Dabashi, Columbia University

A remarkable study...essential and engaging reading!
– Toby Miller, University of California Riverside

Blogistan is essential reading for anyone who wants to really comprehend how the digital age looks beyond the west…Who knew that Persian was one of the most frequently used languages on the internet? Once you read this book – by two scholars with deep knowledge of the Iranian mediascape – none of this will surprise you.
– Faye Ginsburg, Director, Centre of Media, Culture and History, New York University

‘This wide ranging, succinctly argued and timely book is valuable not only by virtue of its subject matter but also, by extension, the window this offers on modern Iranian society and politics, with all its multitude of contradictions…a sound and engaging study that succeeds in covering this broad and, in many respects, unwieldy topic with lucidity and an admirable balance between concision and detail.’
– Asian Affairs Journal


On Monday 22nd August, Blogistan authors Annabelle Sreberny and Gholam Khiabany appeared on the Guardian Books podcast from the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Revolution has been in the air in Edinburgh as a result of the political events that have taken place in North Africa and the Middle East over the past year. In this podcast, Sreberny and Khiabany debunk some myths about repression in Iran and explains how the internet has turned young Iranians into flashmobbers. From the Arab Spring to social networking, to listen to Sreberny and Khiabany in conversation click here.

Bibliographic Info

Imprint: I.B.Tauris
Publisher: I.B.Tauris & Co Ltd

ISBN: 9781845116071
Publication Date: 30 Oct 2010
Number of Pages: 232
Height: 213
Width: 137
Illustrations: black & white illustrations, black & white tables

ISBN: 9781845116064
Publication Date: 30 Oct 2010
Number of Pages: 232
Height: 218
Width: 137
Illustrations: Illustrations

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