Hossein Kermani, PhD

MSCA Postdoctoral Researcher 

Main Research Areas and Interests 

  • Social media activism
  • Computational propaganda
  • Digital and computational methods
  • Critical discourse studies on social media

Hossein Kermani is a MSCA post-doctoral researcher at the Political Communication Research Group of the University of Vienna. Hossein is studying social media, digital repression, computational propaganda and political activism in restrictive contexts, with particular attention to Iran. His research mainly revolves around a) the discursive power of social media in changing the microphysics of power and playing with the political and social structures, and b) the strategies that have been employed to manipulate and dismantle social media activism in non-democratic societies. In order to do so, Hossein is chiefly combining social and communication theories with computational techniques, in particular Social Network Analysis (SNA), Natural Language Processing (NLP), and critical discourse analysis.

Hossein has recently published in, among others, New Media and Society, Big Data & Society, Information, Communication, and Society and Asian Journal of Communication. His first book, social media research in Iran (in Farsi), was published in 2020. He is now working on his first English book, Twitter activism in Iran, which Palgrave Macmillan will publish in 2024.

Hossein welcomes interested students to work with him on their Master’s thesis or Ph.D. dissertations.


Curriculum Vitae

Kolingasse 14, 1090 Wien
Zi. 6.22
eMail: hossein.kermani@univie.ac.at
T: +43-1-4277-483 12

Recent Publications


  • Kermani, H. (2021). Wandering island: The studies of Iranian users on social media, Tehran: Logos Publication.Kermani, Hossein (Under publication). Twitter, politics and power in Iran. Tehran: Mehr-o-Mah publication.
  • Kermani, H. (Under publication). Computational social science; Approaches, tools, and methods. Tehran: Institute of cultural and social studies.

Book chapters

  • Kermani, H. & Faust, M. (2021). Living with Instalive in Iran: Social Media Use in Authoritarian Countries during the Pandemic. In Stefania Milan, Emiliano Treré and Silvia Masiero (Eds), COVID-19 from the Margins: Pandemic Invisibilities, Policies and Resistance in the Datafied Society. Amsterdam: Institute of Network Cultures, University of Amsterdam.
  • Eloranta, J., Kermani, H., & Rahimi, B. (2016). Facebook Iran: Social capital and the Iranian social media. In Faris, M., & Rahimi, B. (Eds), Social media in Iran: Politics and society after 2009 (pp. 19-39). New York: State University of New York Press.

Peer-Reviewed Articles [selected]

  • Kermani, H., Khorshidi, M., & Ashtiani Araghi, M. (2023). A case study on the COVID-19 discourse in politicians’ speeches: Investigations into the speeches of former Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Studies in Communication Sciences, 23(3). doi.org/10.24434/j.scoms.2023.03.2984
  • Kermani, H., Bayat Makou, A., Tafreshi, A., Mohamad Ghodsi, A., & Ataee, H. (2023). Bots Versus Humans: Discursive Activism During the Pandemic in the Iranian Twittersphere. Social Media + Society, 9(4). doi.org/10.1177/20563051231216927
  • Kermani, H. (2023). Twitter is gone; social media research questions persist: Critical questions we should ask before turning to a new platform, Weizenbaum Institute for the Networked Society, Berlin, Germany.
  • Kermani, H. (2023). Framing the Pandemic on Persian Twitter: Gauging Networked Frames by Topic Modeling. American Behavioral Scientist, 00027642231207078. doi.org/10.1177/00027642231207078
  • Kermani, H. (2023). #MahsaAmini: Iranian Twitter Activism in Times of Computational Propaganda. Social Movement Studies0(0), 1–11. doi.org/10.1080/14742837.2023.2180354
  • Kermani, H., Makou, A. B., Tafreshi, A., Ghodsi, A. M., Atashzar, A., & Nojoumi, A. (2023). Computational vs. qualitative: Analyzing different approaches in identifying networked frames during the Covid-19 crisis. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 1–15. doi.org/10.1080/13645579.2023.2186566
  • Kermani, H., & Rasouli, F. (2022). Protesting is Not Everything: Analyzing Twitter Use During Electoral Events in Non-democratic Context. Journal of Digital Social Research, 22–51. doi.org/10.33621/jdsr.v4i4.116
  • Kermani, H., & Hooman, N. (2022). Hashtag feminism in a blocked context: The mechanisms of unfolding and disrupting #rape on Persian Twitter. New Media & Society, 146144482211288. doi.org/10.1177/14614448221128827
  • Kermani, H. (2022). Populist discourse and the resulting discontent in hybrid regimes: An examination of Rouhani’s rhetoric in the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Political Research Exchange, 4(1), 2081585.
  • Kermani, H., & Tafreshi, A., (2022). Walking with Bourdieu into Twitter communities: an analysis of networked publics struggling on power in Iranian Twittersphere. Information, Communication & Society, DOI: 10.1080/1369118X.2021.2021267
  • Kermani, H., & Adham, M. (2021). Mapping Persian Twitter: Networks and mechanism of political communication in Iranian 2017 presidential election. Big Data & Society 8(1). DOI: 10.1177/20539517211025568.
  • Koohikamali, M., Kermani, H., & Rabiei-Dastjerdi, H. (2021). Disclosure and Engagement on Social Media in Iranian Context. AMCIS 2021 Proceedings. 24. https://aisel.aisnet.org/amcis2021/info_security/info_security/24
  • Kermani, H. (2020) Political narrating in non-political crises: Narrativity practices on Persian Twitter during the 2017 Kermanshah earthquake, Asian Journal of Communication, Doi: 10.1080/01292986.2020.1817112.
  • Kermani, H.(2020) Decoding Telegram: Iranian Users and 'Produsaging' Discourses in Iran's 2017 Presidential Election, Asiascape: Digital Asia, Advanced articles. Doi: 10.1163/22142312-1234011
  • Kermani, H. (2020) Telegram Discourse on the 2017 Iran's Presidential Election, Asian journal of media and communication, 4 (1).
  • Kermani, H. (2018) Telegramming News: How have Telegram channels transformed the journalism in Iran? Turkish Reviews of Communication Studies, (31), 168-187. DOI: 10.17829/turcom.423307.

Selected Presentations

  • Kermani, Hossein; Fatemeh, Oudlajani; Yarahmadi, Pardis; Mahdi Soltani, Hamideh; Makki, Mohammad; HosseiniKhoo Zahra (2024) A discursive approach to suppressing #MahsaAmini movement in Persian Twitter: false information and uncivil speech as the building blocks of Twitter networked frames, Critical Approaches to Discourse Analysis Across Disciplines Conference (CADAAD), Poznan: Poland. 11 July 2024.

  • Kermani, Hossein; Makki, Mohammad; Mahdi Soltani, Hamideh; Fatemeh, Oudlajani; Yarahmadi, Pardis; HosseiniKhoo,Zahra; Pakzad, Romina (2024) Analysis of false information and computational propaganda during #MahsaAmini Movement in Persian Twitter, P3 ICA24: Post-conference, Brisbane: Australia, 26 June 2024.
  • Inwood, Olivia; Makki, Mohammad; Kermani, Hossein (2024) Discourse of Mis-Disinformation on Social Media During a Pandemic: A Comparative Analysis of Persian and Australian Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram Data, 74th Annual Conference of the International Communication Association (ICA), Gold Coast: Australia. 20-24 June, 2024.
  • Kermani, Hossein (2023) Computational propaganda on Persian Twitter: #MahsaAmini and information operations on Persian Twitter, 17th ECPR General Conference, Prague: Czech Republic. 4-8 September 2023.
  • Kermani, Hossein (2023) Digital democracy in a blocked context: a mixed methods approach to political communication on Persian Twitter during #MahsaAmini movement, 17th ECPR General Conference, Prague: Czech Republic. 4-8 September 2023.
  • Kermani, H. (2023). Manipulating #MahsaAmini: how the Iranian regime used computational propaganda to suppress a movement on Twitter, 3rd TSHD Digital Humanities Symposium, 15-16 June 2023, Netherlands, Tilburg University.
  • Kermani, H. (2023). Computational propaganda, #MahsaAmini, and Twitter activism in Iran, Milton Wolf Seminar, Diplomatic Academy of Vienna, April 14, 2023.
  • Kermani, H. (2023). Discursive activism by bots and humans during the pandemic on Twitter. Complexity Science Hub: Vienna, February 23, 2023 (invited talk).
  • Kermani, Hossein (2023) Still Twitter? An investigation of social media activism and its manipulations in authoritarian countries. Swiss political science association (SPSA) annual congress. 2-3 February 2023. Switzerland: Basel.
  • Kermani, Hossein; Bayat makou, Alireza; Karami, Behnam; Behzadian Nejad, Reza; and Ataee, Homa, Rasouli, Fatemeh, and Pakzad, Romina (2022) Social Media Agenda Setting on COVID-19: Evidence from Iran, WAPOR 75th and WAPOR Asia Pacific 5th Annual Conference, 10-15 November 2022, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
  • Kermani, Hossein; Bayat makou, Alireza; Karami, Behnam; Behzadian Nejad, Reza; and Ataee, Homa (2022) SOCIAL MEDIA AGENDA SETTING IN AUTHORITARIAN COUNTRIES: THE CASE OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC IN IRAN, 2022 Association of Internet Researchers Conference, Ireland: Dublin. 2-5 November 2022.
  • Kermani, H. (2022) Not a challenge anymore: An investigation of non-democratic regimes’ tactics in turning Twitter into a non-threatening platform, Democracy & Digital Citizenship Conference, Roskilde University, Denmark, 29-30 September 2022.
  • Kermani, H. (2022) Authoritarian regimes and defusing Twitter threat: the case of transforming Iranian Twittersphere to a less challenging space, Eighth Conference of the International Journal of Press/Politics, Loughborough University: England, 21-23 September 2022.
  • Kermani, H. (2022) Mapping Iranian Twittersphere during the pandemic; an analysis of networks and frames of Covid-19 in authoritarian countries, 16th ECPR General Conference, Innsbruck: Austria. 22-26 August 2022.
  • Kermani, H. (2022) Coronavirus in hybrid contexts: a rhetorical analysis of Hassan Rouhani’s speeches during the pandemic, Critical Approaches to Discourse Analysis Across Disciplines (CADAAD), Bergamo, Italy. 8 July 2022.
  • Kermani, H. (2022) Protesting Is Not Everything; Analyzing Twitter Use During Electoral Events in Non-Democratic Contexts, ICA 2022 (Political communication division), France: Paris. 30 May 2022.
    Kermani, H. (2022) An Integrated Approach to Frame Identification: Combining Automated and Qualitative Methods in an Inductive-Deductive Process, ICA 2022 (Computational methods division), France: Paris. 30 May 2022.
  • Kermani, Hossein and Hooman, Niloofar (2021). How a connective action is disrupted in restrictive contexts? The case of dismantling #rape on Persian Twitter. Paper presented at AoIR 2021: The 22nd Annual Conference of the Association of Internet Researchers. Virtual Event: AoIR. Retrieved from spir.aoir.org.
  • Kermani, Hossein (2021) Using computational and qualitative methods to analyze Covid-19 frames on Iranian Twittersphere, 2021 Conference of the German Communication Association's Methods Division, (virtual event), September 30-October 1, 2021. 
  • Kermani, Hossein; Khorshidi, Mona, and Ashtiani Araghi, Mohammad (2020) The president’s speech: An analysis of Covid-19 discourse in Iranian president’s speeches, 14th ECPR General Conference (virtual event), 24 – 28 August 2020. 
  • Kermani, Hossein (2020) Social media narratives and democracy in Iran: An analysis of Iranian Twitter users’ narrativity practices during Iran’s 2017 presidential election, ESA-ECPR Midterm Social Movement Conference. Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies, University of Tartu: Estonia. 7-9 October 2020. 
  • Kermani, Hossein (2018) Habermas on Telegram; Can a micro public sphere be shaped in the age of social media? Presented at 3rc Asiascape: Digital Asia conference (DIAS), Netherlands: Leiden University. 29 May, 2018.