Neo Tribes Mourning: Pashaei's Death in Iran

Monday, 11 July 2016: 10:00
Location: Hörsaal 50 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Mohammad ZOKAEI, Allameh Tabataba'i Unversity, Iran
The unexpected death of young pop singer Morteza Pashaei in Nov. 2014 caused the unprecedented gathering of hundreds of thousands of people in many cities of Iran and particularly in Tehran. Different academic and non academics judgments and interpretations of this massive public presence were made in the media. Despite the fact that youths’ sub cultural appropriations of the public space on different occasions (like religious rituals, sporting victories, presidential elections) is not unusual in Iran, but the very scale and speed by which this event was formed is no doubt unique. The community formed in the Pashaei’s funeral is probably the first postmodern community in which mourning, sociability and sub cultural displays are merged together. The sad stricken and emotional community of Pashaei’s mourners was formed by the fans and the curious people that had tied their unique and personal identities in the metropolis (Tehran) to a neo tribe whose members sought to express their love and to discharge their emotions to a pop star. Drawing on my personal ethnographic observation of the funeral sessions held for Pashaei and the thematic analysis of the fans’ materials (comments, notes, photos, videos) put in both the formal news sites and the social network sites, I aim to present a phenomenological analysis of this event. I will argue that unlike the radical political readings of the event explaining it simply as an oppositional move and a resistance to the culture politics of the system, this coming together is a celebration of the youth power and of the collective life. Employing the new media (like the Viber) has given Iranian youth the chance to form neo tribes by which they can make up for the limited venues they have access for self expressions and produce emotional energies needed in an uncertain world.