The Role and Contribution of Feminist’s Press in Promoting Women Empowerment in Iran: The Analysis of the Interviews with Two Influential Journalists in Iranian Feminist Press
This article explores how influential journalists in feminist press, as a key element of feminist civil society (FCS), perceive their role and contribution in promoting women’s empowerment in Iran. To meet this end, it draws on a Gramscian perspective on civil society as a potential empowering terrain wherein subordinated social groups- including women- can change the relations of power through three steps: raising critical consciousness, confronting the hegemonic discourse of the dominant group, and articulating counter hegemonic discourse. This paper presents interview data involving two influential journalists, Shalha and Shide. It utilizesBakhtinian’s dialogism as an analytical framework in order to explore how both journalists linguistically articulate the hegemonic project in Iranian feminist press. The findings indicate that Shahla’s perceptions of her role and work align with Gramsci’s hegemonic project (including articulation of intrinsic as well as extrinsic counter-hegemony) in terms of making public demands of the theocratic state. By contrast, Shide’s perceptions of her role and journalistic activities do not transcend Gramsci’s second step (confrontation of the dominant discourse) in this respect. Furthermore, it is also apparent that whilst Shahladoes articulate a counter hegemonic discourse, this actually involves the production of an alternative hegemonic discourse rooted in FCS. A process challenged by Shide who critiques elite intellectuals (such as Shahla) for creating their own dominant FCS discourse which contradicts a more inclusive discourse (Unified National Language) where all women’s voices can be heard. The paper concludes that recognizing such diverse perspectives is a crucial step in establishing how women’s empowerment can be realized in the Iranian feminist press.
Keywords - Dialogism, Hegemony/Counter-hegemony, Organic Intellectuals, State/Civil Society, Unified National Language,