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Datafication of Politics in the Time of Dissensus: Reflections on Iran’s Media Climate in the “Woman, Life, Freedom” Movement
This study aims to examine how what we term FarsiTwitter reproduces the consensual perception of the political possibilities through datafying the political dissensus (Rancière, 2015). The “Women, Life, Freedom” (hereafter WLF) momentum brings together intersectional socio-political dissidents that continuously decentralize the existing phallocentric idea of the political society and nation-state. While the revolutionary uprising gains its “constituent power” (Negri, 2009) from its polyvocality, representation- both in terms of media representation and political representativeness- tends to unify the heterogenous multitude through datafication. Drawing upon the combination of “the atlas of the invisible” and “deep mapping”, we unravel the invisible patterns and map the non-representational elements that are involved in crafting the dominant narratives in FarsiTwitter. This extends far beyond the bounds of the platform and showcases the ways in which agitational methods, often associated with mass media, are intertwined with computational politics. We then employ data analytics to explore the ways in which collective dissidents are mediatized and datafied. Highly dependent on the technological affordances of the online platforms, the online public figures attempt to homogenize the self-expressive uprising that resists consensus. These celeb-journalists have spread disinformation and conducted online polls and surveys. Benefiting from the algorithmic engagements of the users and the sponsored power of the mainstream media outlets, they forge a hierarchical intervention inconsistent with the multiplicity of the political imaginaries. Keywords: datafication of politics, polyvocality, dissensus/consensus, constituent power, disinformation.
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