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Coming of Age in IranPoverty and the Struggle for Dignity$
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Manata Hashemi

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781479876334

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479876334.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM NYU Press SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.nyu.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of NYU Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NYSO for personal use.date: 01 July 2022

Dress for Success

Dress for Success

(p.93) 3 Dress for Success
Coming of Age in Iran

Manata Hashemi

NYU Press

This chapter examines the physical dimension of facework. As the risk of losing face hinges primarily on being exposed as poor, youth manipulate their mannerisms and appearance to present a middle-class front to others. Fashionable tweaks to their appearance project kelas(class) and a certain cultural know-how that can subsequently help face-savers extend their personal networks to encompass the type of people who can facilitate their entrée into the world of the well-heeled. The imperative to appear classy and knowledgeable of global fashions finds precedence in Iran’s historical preoccupation with modern fashions and is cultivated in the present day through mediums including billboards, officially sanctioned cultural productions, and new media technologies. Face-savers’ bodily capital is used not only by community members to decide which youth are most worthy of incentives, but also by face-savers to provide justification for their own sense of moral worth. Internalization of the gaze thus creates symbolic boundaries between youth that reproduce cycles of micro-stratification within communities.

Keywords:   appearance, kelas, bodily capital, tastemaking, cultural production, satellite television, social media, gaze, horizontal exchange networks, vertical exchange networks

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