Accepted paper:

Imagination of Iranianness

Author:

Julia Czarnowski (Institute of Iranian Studies)

Paper short abstract:

This paper deals with conceptions of Iranianness as mirrored in a range of interviews conducted with social actors of Iranian heritage (born Iranians) or descant (born Austrians) in Vienna in between 2005-2008.

Paper long abstract:

This paper deals with conceptions of Iranianness as mirrored in a range of interviews conducted with social actors of Iranian heritage (born Iranians) or descent (born Austrians) in Vienna in between 2005-2008. As I found, social actors understand Iranianness mostly in cultural terms as physically ingrained (albeit stereotypical) behavioural templates, skills, or likes and dislikes. Yet, on another level, social actors' phrased belonging also divert from such kind of attempted rationalisation. They often refer to more emotional experiences centring on smells, colours, tastes, and textures etc. connected with Iran and their individual experience of cultural identity and home. On the basis of some vivid interview excerpts I will go into depth to examine interviewees' classification strategies at which Iranians were defined, as well as the development context of their individual imaginations of Iranianness. Here, interviewees' choices of strategies as well as their respective manner of identification are tightly interwoven with social actors' corresponding hopes, dreams and local experiences of exclusion and inclusion which I will address, too.

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Being human, being migrant: dealing with memory, dreams and hopes in everyday life