My interest in Iran, and how citizen participation – primarily through electronic media – influence the public sphere has prompted me to focus on this in my master thesis in media and communication studies.

Thanks to a generous travel grant from The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), I will be able to travel to Iran and conduct the field studies necessary. I leave in the beginning of April, and plan to say in Iran for about eight weeks before returning to Sweden. During that time, I will meet, listen to and interview as many bloggers as I can.

The main research area is how the organization of the civil society is affected by the increased participation offered by the Internet and blogs. The background is that a well-organized civil society is often suggested to be an absolute necessity in the phases of transition towards a democratic rule.

Other research questions include: How can the Iranian public sphere be classified, and what characteristics does it have? What are the implications of political participation in Iran regarding self-censorship etcetera? How does state-sanctioned censorship affect the public sphere, and how – if at all – can the online censorship be circumvented?

I intend to be very transparent during this research, and I appreciate any feedback. More details will be posted shortly, watch this space!

Naturally, I’m interested in all contacts I can possibly get in Iran. If you can help me, don’t hesitate to drop me an email (jonathan -at- qem -dot- se).