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Small Media Big Revolution

Communication, Culture and the Iranian Revolution

1994
Authors:

Annabelle Sreberny-Mohammadi and Ali Mohammadi

Small Media Big Revolution

Reveals how small media (leaflets and audio cassettes) played an important role in the revolution that deposed the Shah of Iran.

The authors, who participated in the revolution, trace the use of audio cassettes and leaflets to disseminate the revolution, as they question the credibility of the established media.

Much has been said about the role of cassette recordings of Khomeini’s sermons in creating a mass following for the Islamists. This is the first serious study of how informal networks of ‘small’ media emerged, undermining the shah’s best efforts to control the ‘big’ media.

Foreign Affairs

To most Westerners, the Iranian revolution was a shocking spectacle, a distant mass upheaval suddenly breaking into the daily news. It was, in fact, a revolution of the television era, as these authors book clearly demonstrate. The first account of the role of culture and communication in the Iranian revolution, this is also the first book to consider revolution as communication in the modern world.
Coauthored by participants in the revolutionary upheaval, this study reflects an unusual breadth and depth of perspective. Drawing on ten years of research, the authors vividly show how the processes and products of modernization were used to undermine the very foundation of modernity in Iran. Their work reveals how deeply embedded cultural modes of communication coupled with crucial media technologies were able to mobilize a population within a repressive political context.
Tracing the use of small media (audio cassettes and leaflets) to disseminate the revolution, the authors challenge much of the theory that has dominated international communication studies-and, in doing so, question the credibility of the established media. They also examine the dilemmas of cultural policy making based on Islamic principles in a media-saturated domestic and international environment.

Small Media Big Revolution

Annabelle Sreberny-Mohammadi is professor and director of the Centre for Mass Communication Research, University of Leicester, England. Ali Mohammadi is a reader in international communication and cultural studies at the Nottingham Trent University, England. They are coeditors of Questioning the Media (1990).

Small Media Big Revolution

Much has been said about the role of cassette recordings of Khomeini’s sermons in creating a mass following for the Islamists. This is the first serious study of how informal networks of ‘small’ media emerged, undermining the shah’s best efforts to control the ‘big’ media.

Foreign Affairs

A powerful narrative by two scholarly eye-witnesses whose lives were caught in this revolutionary whirlwind. Macro and micro histories converge to present us with insights that have been gained through the agonies and ecstasies of the revolutionary process. Small Media, Big Revolution provides a theoretically sophisticated and historically informed narrative of a social revolution that needs to be further explored and understood.

Media Development

For those wishing to glean meaningful information about the role of communications prior to and during Iran’s tumultuous revolution, this is an outstanding book. The authors, who lived and participated in that revolution, are eminently qualified. This is one of the most intelligent and thought-provoking books on media I have ever read. The text should be mandatory reading for policy makers and communication specialists, especially those preoccupied and/or involved with the Middle East. I urge you to read, study and learn from this splendid book.

Middle East Policy

Powerful narrative by two scholarly eyewitnesses whose lives were caught in this revolutionary whirlwind. Small Media, Big Revolution, provides a theoretically sophisticated and historically informed narrative of a social revolution that still needs to be further explored and understood.

International Journal of Middle East Studies

Students of communication and, more broadly, of revolutionary processes in Third World societies will find Small Media, Big Revolution stimulating and instructive.

WorldViews

For anyone interested in a beautifully written, superbly researched, and convincingly argued communications-based analysis of one of the most massively popular revolutions in contemporary history, this book is a must.

Canadian Journal of Communication

This interesting and well written text, traces the role of small media, such as cassettes and videos, in the Iranian revolution. It expands our understanding of revolution.

Religious Studies Review