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Essay Samples > Political > Resistance and Politics
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Resistance and Politics

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What is the significance of the basement (zir-e zamin) for popular music styles in Iran?

Some category of artists referred to zir-e zamini. It is kind of ‘underground rock’, literally playing ‘underground’ music, which they have played in different basements of the Tehran apartment blocks. Because of their ‘bad guys’ alternative status, they attract young and rebellious audience, contrasting on the background of pop artists. Their songs were against the Iranian authority and governmental policies. That is why they became a symbol of political and other protests. But who knows, maybe it was a special political game to create such a society construct, like a rock stream?

Consider Nooshin’s use of the word “cosmopolitanism” and the implications of the phrase “global youth culture.”  How do these concepts play out in the Iranian popular music culture?

 “Cosmopolitanism” means, that in cultural or any other artistic activities, behavior and opinion of people should be free from national and parochial boundaries. “Global youth culture” – it is an absolutely new trend in a musical field of activity, some kind of youth revolution. In Iranian popular music culture we can see, that the number of supporters of these concepts grows every day more and more. Now fashionably treats any subculture, listening and supporting an alternative musical current that emphasizes all parties of cosmopolitanism and global youth culture.

What are the differences in the ways “rock” and “pop” are viewed in Iran, both by authorities and among musicians?  What is the “paradox” (p. 475) faced by rock musicians?  How does this engage with a larger, international discourse on the nature of rock?

Before 1997 the “pop” music was rather commonplace in Iran, and “rock” music appeared from psychedelic and beats of English and American music with using of hard sounds and electric guitar. Musicians said, that “rock” is cool music, and “pop” is innocent music of Iran. Authorities did not let playing and listening rock music, it considered like a political act. One of the lead singers of Iran said in his interview, that the only club they have for playing is their website.

“Paradox” of rock musicians is next: if everyone tries to save their incomes and become richer, instead, they would become poorer. Generally, in rock being poor it is norm, because they do not care about money, they are free.

What does Nooshin mean when she writes “Just as those involved in building civil society are attempting to create a more diverse social space, so stylistic eclecticism might be viewed as a means by which musicians can create a more diverse musical space.” (486)?

Nooshin means that any musical current has the right to exist. “Rock” or any other alternative music, in this situation, should be considered as a part of musical culture, instead of political actions against the government.

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