Accepted Paper:

A Precarious Good Life: Fortune and Illicit Trips of Iranian Migrants in Turkey  


Yunlong Jia (University Of Sussex)

Paper short abstract:

This paper focuses on the Iranian migrant communities in Turkey and engages with the complex relationship among well-being, illicitness and migration in the migratory experience.

Paper long abstract:

The Iranian diaspora has been a long-standing phenomenon since the outbreak of the Islamic revolution. Despite researches on the migration strategies and trajectories of long-distance migration from Iran to West Europe and North America, the everyday dynamics among Iranian migrants merit a closer examination. From an inter-Asian perspective, my research focuses on the Iranian communities in Turkey, Istanbul in particular. I explore the migratory experiences of Iranian people today in relation to the conditions and endeavours to achieve a good life on the move.

For many Iranian people, migration is a process leading to prosperity. Regardless of the possible outcomes, along this process, migration also incurs precarity. In the context of the Iranian people in Turkey, such precarity is often articulated through the illicit status and conducts such as the violation of regulations concerning migrants. On one hand, illicit activities provide Iranian migrants with access to various opportunities which are essential to sustain a good life. On the other hand, illicitness also creates tension between the quotidian life and the illicit liminal stage. Oscillating between the good life and precarity which are at the same time induced by the illicit conducts, the migratory worlds of Iranian migrants are, in this process, constructed and reconfigured. By using an ethnographic research method, I therefore, wish to dismantle the distinct migratory worlds of Iranian migrants in Turkey and shed light on the complex relationship among well-being, illicitness and migration.

Panel P084
Migration and the imaginaries of 'good life' [ANTHROMOB]