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Iranian identities in Vancouver : contesting ethnic and racial signifiers through situated perspectives produced using methodological triangulation Swanton, Daniel James

Abstract

Recent intellectual enquiry into ideas of identity has emphasised that individuals are neither determined by the structures of racialisation, class, gender, and bureaucracy, nor are they fully outside these processes. Identities are continually produced, contested and negotiated through the categories by which we come to be known. A triangulation of research techniques, integrating critical analyses of official statistics with deconstructive readings of media representations and interpretations of semi-structured interviews, generates three situated and partial perspectives through which I examine Iranian identities in Vancouver. Via critical engagements with, and interpretations of, official statistics and media representations, I elucidate the markedly limited repertoire of narratives, images and ideas through which Iranian identities are both negotiated and popularly imagined. My situated interpretation of my participants' responses underscores the diversity and heterogeneity of Iranian affiliations, disrupting and unravelling ethnic boundaries and stereotypes performatively reproduced through the enclosing categories of official databases and the reductive Orientalist imaginaries that pervade media portrayals. The productive tension generated by this innovative coupling of situated perspectives works towards a nuanced and richly textured understanding of the identities and experiences of Iranians in Vancouver.

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