This dissertation examines and investigates the recontextualization of theories of satire, public sphere, and communicative action in the... Show moreThis dissertation examines and investigates the recontextualization of theories of satire, public sphere, and communicative action in the context of Iranian Instagram satirists. The importance of this investigation is two-fold. First, since the advent of social media sites, several theoretical concepts have gone through paradigm shifts. In this regard, theories of satire, public sphere, and communicative action are no exceptions. Second, these theoretical concepts were primarily developed and analyzed in Western democratic nations and need to be revisited in the context of Iran. To this end, by looking through the lenses of these theories and taking into account the context of Iran, this dissertation identifies the major topics that Iranian Instagram satirists address and criticize. Therefore, the first goal of this dissertation is to provide insights with regards to how Iranian Instagram satirists are using humor to criticize different aspects of social, cultural, and political matters that are more salient in the context of Iran and to investigate how they are trying to transfer their knowledge and raise awareness about topics that are less publicly discussed.Furthermore, by analyzing the topics that are the main focus of Iranian Instagram satirists, accompanied by observations from my netnography study, and considering the current atmosphere and historical background of Iran, this dissertation argues the extent to which Iranian satirical content on Instagram facilitates the democratic exchange of ideas as a requirement for transformation from a public space to public sphere(s). This dissertation also examines the communicative action strategies that Iranian Instagram satirists employ to reach an understanding with the state as well as their followers. Finally, the dimensions and attributes of satire as well as the features of Instagram that facilitate the formation of public discourse and public opinion formation in Iran are identified.
Methodologically, this dissertation utilized a combination of qualitative research methods including but not limited to netnography, thematic and content analysis, transcription of publicly available trade publication interviews, and critical discourse analysis. While themes and topics were extracted from the collected media from the Instagram pages of the Iranian Instagram satirists, the transcription of the publicly available trade publication interviews as well as critical discourse analysis were used to describe why some topics were more salient and to provide answers to the developed research questions.
From the analysis of the posts and stories, ten themes that fall into two broad categories of inward and outward criticism were extracted. In the context of this research, the inward criticism category refers to the topics that unravel the social and cultural dimensions of relationships and interactions, while the outward criticism category refers to the topics that criticize the state and its established institutions. Taking a closer look at the results, we can see that in the context of Iran, it can be concluded that the online world accompanied by satire facilitates the democratic exchange of ideas as a requirement for transformation from a public space to public sphere(s). However, as Iranian Instagram influencers are expressing their opposing thoughts against the established hegemony and are also challenging what matters belong to the private or public domains, it can be said that they are forming subaltern counterpublics in the online world. Show less