The Donya of the Iranian diasporic popular culture : from Tehrangeles to Malmo



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Since the 1979 revolution the Iranian popular culture, specifically the popular music, has turned into a peculiar landscape complicated by politics, regulations, technology and the border-crossing of resources. The Islamic Republic’s initial ban on popular music caused a massive exodus of artists and producers out of the country and eventually to Los Angeles. There, the popular music industry’s resources and talents reunited and resumed their production. At the same time, inside Iran, the absence of a popular culture (Iranian or otherwise) created a vacuum in the public sphere that the government-endorsed mystic art-house cinema and traditional music could not fill. The Iranian public turned to its now-exiled pop artists and despite the ban, the cassettes and videotapes of the Los Angeles productions flooded the black markets. Thereafter, when describing music, the terms diasporic and popular became synonymous for Iranians. The present study examines the relevance of the Iranian diasporic popular culture to the construction of the Iranian youth identity and identifies global satellite age trends from within the diaspora that subvert or revise the hegemonic order of Tehrangeles popular culture.