Coming of Age in IranPoverty and the Struggle for Dignity

Coming of Age in IranPoverty and the Struggle for Dignity

Manata Hashemi

Print publication date: 2021

ISBN: 9781479876334

Publisher: NYU Press


The subject of intense media scrutiny, young men and women in the Islamic Republic of Iran have long been characterized as walking rebels—a frustrated, alienated generation devoid of hope and prone to oppositional practices. Coming of Age in Iran challenges these homogenizing depictions through vivid ethnographic portraits of a group of resilient lower-class youth in Iran: the face-savers. Through participant observation and interviews, the book reveals how conformism to moral norms becomes these young people’s ticket to social mobility. By developing a public face admired by those with the power and resources to transform their lives, face-savers both contest and reproduce systems of stratification within their communities. Examining the rules of the face game, Coming of Age in Iranshows how social practice is collectively judged, revealing the embedded moral ideologies that give shape to socioeconomic change in contexts all too often understood in terms of repression and resistance.