- Non-visibility and the politics of everyday presence: A spatial analysis of contemporary urban Iran
- Award date
- 1 July 2016
- Number of pages
- Document type
- PhD thesis
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA)
This dissertation is concerned with space as it is lived, experienced, mediated, and produced in everyday life. It is also about non-conformist ways of being present in the tightly ordered regime of publicness in Iran. Its primary aim is to critically analyse the realm of the public in Iran by establishing connections between specific spaces, times, performativities, and aesthetics. To this end, this project focuses on four spatio-temporalities: the space inside a moving car, urban rooftops, shopping centres, and the realm of sports. Analysed in separate chapters, these spatio-temporalities are conceptualised as forms of everyday engagement that not only commonly constitute everyday lived experience in Iranian cities, but are also instrumental to the construction of visual, narrative, and communicative modes of engagement with the city and its citizens at large. They are also conceptualised as social and cultural formations that pertain to non-visible yet embodied modes of public presence in Iran.
By analysing these conceptual formations, as addressed within cultural and social spheres, this dissertation explores the ways in which people strive to make themselves ‘seen, heard, and felt’ in ways that do not necessarily comply with the dominant orders of the visible. The central argument is that modes of everyday presence in urban Iran are best conceptualized as the politics of non-visibility: intricate ways of less-visible, yet sensible and affective, engagement with the everyday that are feasible and effective so long as they sustain certain levels of familiarity, anonymity, inconspicuousness, and ordinariness. This politics therefore engages with the interrelation between notions of visibility and non-visibility, publicness and privacy, presence and absence, transparency and ambiguity, specificity and anonymity, exceptionality and ordinariness, and exposure and security. It follows that everyday moments of critique (in the form of resistance to the conformist ways of being public) are enacted in furtive and liminal conditions, in the space between visibility and non-visibility, absence and presence.
- Research conducted at: Universiteit van Amsterdam
Thesis (complete) (Embargo up to and including 1 July 2020)
1. INTRODUCTION: The non-visibility of everyday presence (Embargo up to and including 1 July 2020)
2. CARS: Kiarostami’s embodied cinema of mobility (Embargo up to and including 1 July 2020)
3. ROOFTOPS: The invisibility and ambiguity of leftover space (Embargo up to and including 1 July 2020)
4. SHOPPING CENTRES: The ambivalent scopic regime of the stroll (Embargo up to and including 1 July 2020)
5. SPORTS: The unrelenting visibility of wayward bodies (Embargo up to and including 1 July 2020)
6. CONCLUSION: Resisting visibility, joining the everyday (Embargo up to and including 1 July 2020)
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