Elaheh Eslami

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Central European U.

Grant number

Gr. 10682

Approve Date

April 15, 2024

Project Title

Eslami, Elaheh (Central European U.) "Aspirations for 'moving forward': Women’s online home-based businesses and the politics of social mobility in Iran"

The main aim of this research is to investigate the case of Iranian women’s small online home-based businesses as a response to the condition of inclusion and exclusion following the Islamic Revolution. While the rise of online “entrepreneurship” is theorized as the result of the neoliberal economic restructuring, close anthropological attention to the phenomena points to a variety of value regimes that account for both the expansion of women’s online businesses and their struggles. To delve into women entrepreneurs’ aspirations for social mobility, I conduct a digital ethnography of women’s hopes and aspirations on Instagram. I will also participate in business-related conferences and classes, weekly visit Tehran Friday Market, interview women, and observe them as they move from home to online spaces, and other popular places for fulfilling aspirations. Adopting a gendered approach to understanding what women aspire to, and how they strive to create a plan of action to realize these aspirations, this project aims to analyze women’s labor on social media as a form of gendered labor shaped within the context of historically evolving value systems. Drawing on anthropological analysis of home, this study is an attempt to move beyond home as a place of non-movement and domination.