“We are not terrorists!” UK‐based Iranians, consumption practices and the “torn self”

Aliakbar Jafari, Christina Goulding

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper presents an exploratory study of the consumption practices of UK-based young Iranians. Based on a series of in-depth interviews and participatory observation we provide an insight into the identity-constituting meanings associated with consumption practices. We illustrate how individuals use consumption discourses to tackle a series of ideological tensions in their sociocultural settings, both in Iran and in the UK. We describe how in a theocratic state individuals use commodified cultural symbolic mediators to construct and reaffirm a sense of self and identity and also to covertly resist the dominant order. We discuss consumer's paradoxes and dilemmas when confronted with a complex set of clashes between restricting political/institutional dynamics and the emancipatory forces of Western consumption. We conclude by discussing how these contradictions and strategies lead to a form of "torn" self.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-91
Number of pages19
JournalConsumption, Markets and Culture
Issue number2
Early online date20 Jun 2008
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • consumer behaviour
  • consumption
  • social anthropology
  • cultural anthropology
  • state ideology
  • consumption practices
  • resistance
  • identity
  • torn self


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