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Transnationalism Within: internal diversity in the Iranian diaspora

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Transnationalism research is dominated by studies of national groups. This paper instead looks at the internal diversity of one national diasporic community. The analysis draws on research with the children of Iranian migrants from Baha'i and Muslim backgrounds in Sydney, London and Vancouver. This paper shows the differential reproduction of homeland class relations in different cities of the Iranian diaspora, and how these processes are influenced by the internal diversity within the Iranian diaspora. The reproduction of homeland class relations in the diaspora in part aids in the reproduction of real and imagined links to Iran, fostering transnational social fields that extend from the upper class areas of north Tehran into the suburbs of Kensington in London, West Vancouver, or St Ives in Sydney. Connections by socioeconomic status, or class, by religion, by generation and time of settlement are shown in this paper to exist alongside national affiliation as possible lenses through which transnational communities can be understood. All of these forms of communal belonging produce distinctive and yet intersecting transnational social fields.
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Keywords: Baha'i; Iran; Muslim; class; religious identity; second generation; transnationalism

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Western Sydney, Australia

Publication date: March 1, 2008

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