Accepted Paper:

The art of resistance in contemporary Iran. Creative tactics for a social change: the case of illegal musical subcultures  


Federica Calbini (University of Turin)

Paper short abstract:

Due to the strict social control, the life of an iranian is divided between the public sphere, and the private one. Collective creativity takes place in those interstices not controlled by the regime. Art e music become the major means thru which one can express his own individuality.

Paper long abstract:

Islamic Republic of Iran: since 1979 life of iranians is articulated according to Shari'a, the Law of God. The individuals shape their freedom in between the interstices not controlled by the autohorities and institutions. This is where collective creativity takes place.

The contemporary persian society is thus outlined by a permanent dialectic of negotiation between the individual freedom, and the collective islamic morality.

In the Islamic Republic of Iran music, except for the traditional folk, is illegal. Similarly, every kind of art is controlled by the regime. To publish his/her work an artist must obtain the permission from the Ershad, the department of culture. Every form of art is firmly controlled by the regime, and only the fews labeled as halāl -islamically accettaple- obtain the right of publication.

The other ones, for istance the ones that argue about harām topics such as politics or sex, and are inspired from the West, are labeled as illegal. Given the impossibility to produce individual art, most of the youngsters deliberately decide to skip the approval from the regime; they decide to spread their works of art in many underground ways, which are just parallel to the maistream one, yet invisible and in contrast to the established order. Thus, many iranians find themselves divided between on one hand, a public sphere of their lives, and, on the other hand, a private one in which they can wreak their individuality, far from the oppression and repression of the Islamic Law and its spies' eyes.

Panel P21
Collective creativity in everyday life: civil activity between hegemonic structures and flows of ideas