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Moral Conformism and Its Contents

Moral Conformism and Its Contents

(p.148) 5 Moral Conformism and Its Contents
Coming of Age in Iran
Manata Hashemi
NYU Press

This chapter discusses the implications of facework for elucidating the relationship between morality and social mobility in the face of hardship. By imparting incremental social and economic wins, facework provides a low-cost though potentially high-impact tactic for disadvantaged youth to improve their lot in life in contemporary Iran. Simultaneously, in playing the game day in and day out, youth come to embody the moral dispositions endorsed by the game. In internalizing and abiding by an ethical code that derives from cultural norms and traditions, face-savers practice the moral prescriptions encouraged by the state. Simultaneously, in following the rules, face-savers are able to pursue their dreams and better their lives—a process indicative of their agency and their articulation of a space of influence within the hegemony of the state. While it remains unclear how far the game can take a person, what is certain is that facework reveals a new arena for citizen engagement in Iran.

Keywords:   incremental mobility, face game, agency, status, moral self, micro-stratification, hegemony

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