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Manata Hashemi

Feb 22, 2022

Coming of Age in Iran

Poverty and the Struggle for Dignity

NYU Press 2020

Crippling sanctions, inflation, and unemployment have increasingly burdened young people in the Islamic Republic of Iran. In Coming of Age in Iran: Poverty and the Struggle for Dignity (NYU Press, 2020), Manata Hashemi takes us inside the lives of poor Iranian youth, showing how these young men and women face their future prospects. Drawing on first-hand accounts, Hashemi follows their stories, one by one, as they struggle to climb up the proverbial ladder of success. Based on years of ethnographic research among these youth in their homes, workspaces, and places of leisure, Hashemi shows how public judgments can give rise to meaningful changes for some while making it harder for others to escape poverty. Ultimately, Hashemi sheds light on the pressures these young men and women face, showing how many choose to comply with—rather than resist—social norms in their pursuit of status and belonging. Coming of Age in Iran tells the unprecedented story of how Iran’s young and struggling attempt to extend dignity and alleviate misery, illuminating the promises—and limits—of finding one’s place during a time of profound uncertainty.

Manata Hashemi is a sociologist, ethnographer, and the Farzaneh Family Associate Professor of Iranian Studies in the Department of International and Area Studies at the University of Oklahoma. She is also the co-editor of Children in Crisis: Ethnographic Studies in International Contexts (2013, Routledge).  Website: www.manatahashemi.com.Twitter: @ManataHashemi.


Amir Sayadabdi is Lecturer in Anthropology at Victoria University of Wellington. He is mainly interested in anthropology of food and its intersection with gender studies, migration studies, and studies of race, ethnicity, and nationalism.

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Amir Sayadabdi

Amir Sayadabdi is Lecturer in Anthropology at Victoria University of Wellington. He is mainly interested in anthropology of food and its intersection with gender studies, migration studies, and studies of race, ethnicity, and nationalism.

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