Based on ethnographic fieldwork and participant observation, this article moves from a microscopic to a wide-angle view to explain the dynamics of the 2009 post-election Green movement in the Islamic Republic of Iran: how it manifested, why it weakened, and who participated. After mapping out the protest wave, I make three main arguments. First, pre-electoral campaigns created spaces for interaction rituals of "brokered exuberance" among participants in public rallies that lowered perceptions of risk and spilled over into contentious protest after the election. Second, ordinary, non-networked Iranians utilized face-to-face interaction to broaden and recharge the protest wave, while Internet activism confused as much as coordinated the organization of street protests. Third, the social power and political orientation of Green protestors were connected to the increased relative size of the middle class in Iran, which had been empowered and enlarged through the state's developmental efforts over the past two decades.

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