The Internet as a Global/Local Site of Contestation: The Case of Iran
In Celikates, R., J. de Kloet, E. Peeren & T. Poell (Eds.) 2017. Global Cultures of Contestation. London: Palgrave MacMillan
18 Pages Posted: 1 Jun 2017 Last revised: 9 Jul 2020
Date Written: May 29, 2017
This chapter sheds light on the role of the internet as a site of contestation capable of connecting the local and the global dimension of a protest in countries with strict information controls. It takes Iran as an exemplary case for the study of the technology-related protest cultures that emerge at the fringes of a heavily controlled cyberspace. We compare the widespread use of the microblogging platform Twitter and the chat application Telegram, inserting them in a broader geopolitical analysis. We understand Telegram as an emancipatory communication technology (Milan, 2013), to highlight its role in facilitating the exercise of democratic agency during the 2016 Iranian Parliamentary elections. Relying on interview data and desk research, and positioned at the intersection of media studies, science and technology studies and social movement studies, this chapter adds to our understanding of the complex relation between governments and their digital opposition.
Keywords: Iran, Telegram, Twitter, Digital Activism, Information Controls
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