Between Tolerance and Exclusionism: Urban Iranian Youth’s Attitudes towards Race and Religion
Keywords:Iranian identity, race, religion, youth, focus groups
Although the resurgence of race and religiosity among Iranians predates the past millennium, it was not until beginning of twentieth century that both religion and race entered the public discourse, gradually becoming the key constituents of Iranian identity. The emergence of the non-conformist young generation in early 1990s, however, raises important questions about the critical role of race and religion in shaping Iranian youth’s identities. With a specific attention to the most mature (25-29 years old) segment of the middle-class residents of Tehran, and through conducting a series of focus groups, this study explores how these individuals imagine their selves vis-à-vis the others in relation to race and religion. The findings ultimately point to the participants’ oscillation between tolerance and exclusionism towards other races and religions as a way to disentangle the complexities of their identities.
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