Home and away : blogging emotions in a Persian virtual dowreh : a thesis presented in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Linguistics and Second Language Teaching at Massey University

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Massey University
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This study explores the creation of a virtual dowreh (family/social circle) via Persian language weblogs among a group of Iranian migrants in Australia. The motivation and inspiration for this study arose from my own experience as a migrant. I became interested in looking at how the new generation of Iranian migrants use weblogs to form digital diasporas and why they publish their emotional experiences online, thereby adding to the understanding of a relatively under-researched community. The study draws upon a sociocultural approach in order to bring to light the role of weblogs in the context of the most recent Iranian migration and the way Iranian migrants use them to replace dowrehs disrupted by the migration experience where they could perform cultural identities and express and share their emotions. Using a grounded theory approach and discourse analysis to blog posts, the study investigates the expression of emotional challenges, expectations, and cultural performances of a group of Persian diasporic bloggers. The exploration of a diasporic virtual dowreh produced several interesting results. The findings suggest the possibility of online community formation via weblogs where Iranians could meet and perform cultural identities which are not available to them in the host society. Two characteristics that marked the virtual dowreh were the type of Persian language used and the interaction between the bloggers and their audience. The analysis demonstrated that interactions between the bloggers and their audience via commenting functions were noticeably governed by Iranian notions of politeness and other Persian rules of decorum and cultural practices. The analysis also illustrated that the language used in the virtual dowreh was a combination of written and spoken Persian, Internet jargon, weblog terms, and concepts from the host society. Furthermore, the exploration of the emotional challenges of the bloggers revealed that certain emotions such as homesickness and self-conscious emotions were among the major sources of emotion in the diaspora and indexed the bloggers‟ Iranian diasporic identities online. The study concludes with the importance of weblogs for Iranian migrants in creating virtual dowrehs where they could practise/perform cultural identities and express and thereby share their emotional experience.
Iranian migrants, Iranian bloggers, Iranian blogs, Persian language, Blogs