Weblogistan goes to war: Representational practices, gendered soldiers and neoliberal entrepreneurship in diaspora

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Abstract

In this article, which is based on twenty four months of combined online and off-line ethnographic research, I show the way that some Iranian diasporic bloggers use their weblogs as entrepreneurship resources during the war on terror. Through a discourse analysis of a documentary film about Weblogistan and interviews with diasporic Iranian bloggers in Toronto, I argue that Weblogistan is implicated in discourses of militarism and neoliberalism that interpellate the representable Iranian blogger as a gendered neoliberal homo oeconomicus. The production of knowledge about Iran in transnational encounters between the media, think tanks, policy institutions and the Iranian diasporic self-entrepreneurs, relies on gendered civilizational discourses that are inherently tied to the war on terror. Following feminist scholars who have theorized militarism and gender, I argue that dominant representations of Weblogistan produce different gendered subject positions for Iranian bloggers. Although the masculine blogger soldier takes freedom to Iran through his active participation in proper politics (enabled by his freedom of speech in North America and Europe), the woman blogger finds freedom of expression in writing about sex and telling the truth of her sex in a confessional mode. It is in this war of representation that women bloggers negotiate their subjectivity while shuttling in and out of local and global politics, as subjects of politics (markers of freedom and oppression) and political abjects (not worthy of political participation).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6-24
Number of pages19
JournalFeminist Review
Volume99
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2011

Keywords

  • cybergovernmentality
  • gender
  • militarism
  • neoliberalism
  • new media
  • representation

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