The academic literature is replete with debates on the Internet as an authoritarian or democratic device and whether it provides a revolutionary tool for freedom of speech or is a menace to society. Most of these studies focus on social theory or technical studies of the Internet to fall within one of the polarised utopian or dystopian categories. Rather than focussing on the interplays of social forces, or narrowing down on the technology as the sole determining factor, this study pays significant attention to both the characteristics of technical objects and the socio-political forces. To address this, Illich’s theory of ‘conviviality of tools ’ is drawn upon. This theory is used to examine the basic argument that the Internet is a convivial tool that promotes conviviality in internet communities. However, using two case studies from Iran, we show that conviviality is not easily transferable to the real spaces of society in the Iranian context.
|Publication status||Published - 2009|