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Digital feminism beyond nativism and empire: affective territories of recognition and competing claims to suffering in Iranian women’s campaigns

Tafakori, Sara (2021) Digital feminism beyond nativism and empire: affective territories of recognition and competing claims to suffering in Iranian women’s campaigns. Signs, 47 (1). 47 - 80. ISSN 0097-9740

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Identification Number: 10.1086/715649


Winner of the 2021 Catharine Stimpson Prize for Outstanding Feminist Scholarship. There has been a growing affective intensity on Farsi social media around Iranian women’s rights protests, particularly mobilizations against the compulsory hijab. This intensity has crystallized into a variety of emotions: the anger, joy, and defiance of Iranian women protesting against the hijab inside the country; the outrage at the injustice these actions communicate; and the anger and anxiety of Iranian critics on both the Right and the Left, among both the Iranian establishment and ordinary people. Yet oversimplified counterpositions between “global” and “local,” West and East, dominate both legacy-media and social-media narratives of women’s rights campaigning, resulting, as I show, in the circulation of binary genres of “authentic” versus “inauthentic” protest that generate anger and anxiety. In this vein, the traumatic experience of economic sanctions, as the master signifier of West-East conflict in Iranian online exchanges, often frames human rights discourses as inauthentic, in that these discourses are positioned as emanating from the West. Understanding the politics of emotion around these mobilizations allows one to attend more closely to the contentions and fissures that traverse women’s struggles within Iran and, I argue, to develop a politics of affective recognition as a basis for constructing feminist solidarities across and within borders. A focus on anger and rage, among other feelings, helps us not only to trace the binary oppositions that characterize online discourses around these protests but to capture their unstable ambivalence between authenticity and inauthenticity, inside and outside, their potential to point beyond existing boundaries and demarcations, and to permit new imaginings of territoriality.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2021 The University of Chicago
Divisions: Media and Communications
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2021 15:03
Last Modified: 18 Feb 2024 23:45

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