Meanings Of Iranianness For Young Viewers Of The Reality Show Befarmaeed Sham


In the past decade, the popularity of the diasporic reality show Befarmaeed Sham has provided young Iranian viewers with an unprecedented space for negotiating the meaning of Iranianness. Produced and transnationally broadcast by the exilic television network Manoto TV, this reality show features ordinary Iranians as they live in foreign lands and face the culture of the ‘others’. Since this program is receivable through officially banned and censured free-to-air satellite TV, its representation of Iranianness is deemed to contradict the one persistently upheld by the state. However, unlike other merely political programs prevailing Farsi satellite TV channels (FSTCs) and directly criticizing the Islamic regime and its ideologies, as a new form of popular cultural program, Befarmaeed Sham takes on representation of Iranianness in subtle and conspicuous ways. This raises the questions about how young audiences of Befarmaeed Sham, who are also the program’s main viewers, interpret and make sense of this reality show’s representation of Iranianness. In the light of the reception theory and through conducting a series of focus group discussions with young residents of northern Tehran this study explores some of the meanings of Iranianness for these individuals and the ways in which they define their ‘selves’ as Iranians.

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