Reading Arendt in Tehran: On Extraordinary Democratic Politics and the Failure of Revolutions

Lars Rensmann*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


This article seeks to understand the 2009 Iranian anti-government uprising through an Arendtian lens, and re-read Arendt's conceptions of power, civil disobedience and revolution in the light of this event. Generating non-institutionalized, non-regularized public spaces both within and beyond the limits of the established order, diverse communities reconstituted an Iranian multitude that temporarily shifted the power from the regime to the street. Arendt helps us understand both how this self-authorized and self-empowered multitude was able to recover democratic subjectivity and power under non-democratic conditions, and how the democratic uprising failed and the regime could crush it and consolidate its rule.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)299-315
Number of pages17
JournalEuropean Journal of Cultural and Political Sociology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

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