Where is Iranian politics? Between state and nation, inside and outside the polity

Sreberny, Annabelle and Khiabany, Gholam. 2023. Where is Iranian politics? Between state and nation, inside and outside the polity. In: Shahram Akbarzadeh, ed. Handbook of Middle East Politics. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing, pp. 126-143. ISBN 9781802205626 [Book Section]

No full text available

Abstract or Description

The September 2022 death in custody of Mahsa (Jhina) Amini sparked a nationwide response from young women and their male allies and counterparts, the biggest popular mobilization in Iran since the 1979 revolution that overthrew the shah.  Led by young women, thousands are in the street, the slogan “Zan, Zendegi, Azadi” has acquired international recognition and the poignant anthem of the movement, a song by Shirvin Hajipour won a Grammy award.  The dynamics of this mobilization adds new layers to the already complicated nature of Iranian politics, where it is situated and how it is manifest. The conceptual focus of this chapter is the complicated set of relationships between geography and politics in an exilic, diasporic post-revolutionary Iran. Three powerful spatial dynamics are at work in the analysis of a country’s political orbit. One is the classic remit of the international relations between states. The second is the mainstream remit of political analysis, the national dialogue – sometimes open, often constrained – between the state and its inhabitants. In addition, the third is the cross-border space between the state and its citizens who – as diaspora, exiles, and migrants – live in other countries. Too often, each is analysed in isolation, part of the intellectually unedifying division of academic work. In this chapter, we explore where contemporary Iranian politics exists and how it is played out through each of these political geographies.

Item Type:

Book Section

Identification Number (DOI):



Iran; Politics; Nation-state; Woman-life-freedom; Transnational solidarity

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies


13 October 2023Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

09 Feb 2024 17:31

Last Modified:

09 Feb 2024 17:31



Edit Record Edit Record (login required)