Sara Bazoobandi

Populism, Jihad, and Economic Resistance: Studying the Political Discourse of Iran’s Supreme Leader

Digest of Middle East Studies | 2023

  • Abstract

    Political leaders of pariah authoritarian states communicate their political discourse unilaterally, in a closed environment without free and open media access or the space for public scrutiny or debate. They use their speeches for various aims such as to respond to external shocks, justify hardship, appeal to domestic and international sympathy, assert autonomy and power, and influence policy and governance. This research uses Iran as a case study and offers an in-depth analysis of 10 years of speeches by the country's Supreme Leader. In a case study of unilateral political communication method in an authoritarian environment, it sheds light on various aspects of the discourse generated by the country's Supreme Leader over a decade. It also analyzes the Leader's effort to influence policymaking and governance structure through practical official guidelines. Building upon existing theories of populism, the study seeks to unpack an understudied approach in populist politics that is based on a political discourse by the leadership which defines the populist dichotomy of people versus elite at the global level.

    Research Programmes


    Digest of Middle East Studies




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