The Revolution is Televised
This paper interrogates the technologies of vision as constitutive of a discourse of revolution as a spectacle of events that have been eventualized through totalizing representational practices. While the revolt of the subjects against the unbearability of submission to authority is undeniable in the event of social uprisings and social revolts, homogenization appears when the event is eventualized and where the contradictions are resolved in the narrative, where the forces of homogenization succeed the forces of differentiation. In this context, nationalism and imperialism converge in their investment in a militarized gaze and the desire to contain conflicts and contradictions. While the subjects of recent street protests in Iran exceed modern politics of visibility and the mediatic and diasporic representation of a revolution to come, this paper interrogates the limits of televised revolutions that are taking place in spaces of political mobilization powerfully mediated, defined, and contained by the state apparatus, on the one hand, and imperialist diasporic and non-diasporic media on the other. The state-controlled media and the imperialist media mirror each other in claiming the bodies of women protesters, one accusing women’s protest of being engineered by imperialist forces and the other of a revolution to overthrow the Islamic Republic. I ask how to intervene in these dichotomized forms of representation to interrupt hegemonic narratives and create space for unfolding what is not necessarily open to the mediatic gaze. How to discuss women’s issues and engage with women’s various forms of resistance to cultural, political, and economic patriarchies without falling into the trap of religious or secular fundamentalists or imperialist and Islamic nationalist hegemonies in Iran and the diaspora? What are the limits of political mobilization in spaces powerfully defined and contained by hegemonic media within the national and transnational mediatic spaces?