Journal of International Migration and Integration

, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 1109–1124 | Cite as

The Burden of Geopolitical Stigma: Iranian Immigrants and Their Adult Children in the USA

  • Sahar Sadeghi


The overall aim of this paper is to add several dimensions missing from current debates and scholarship on Iranian immigrants, migration, and belonging: The power of global political dynamics in stigmatizing migrants’ identities, the impact of geopolitics on migrants’ quality of life, and the disruptions to belonging and membership as a result of anti-Iranian prejudice. Through the use of in-depth interviews, I examine the experiences of 32 immigrant and second-generation Iranians residing in northern and southern California. The findings of this research demonstrate that the geopolitical relationship between the Iranian government and the USA powerfully impacts the lives of Iranians in the USA. Specifically, global politics facilitate a context that helps stigmatize Iranians’ identities and makes them more prone to experiencing social marginality, anti-Iranian prejudice, racial/ethnic profiling, and discrimination. Ultimately, these experiences put an effective cap on Iranians’ abilities to access opportunity structures and limit their access to belonging and social membership in the USA. An examination of the lived experiences of Iranian immigrants and their adult children offers important empirical and theoretical insight for the impact of contentious global political context on immigrant belonging and membership.


Iranians Belonging Migration Geopolitics Discrimination Identity 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology and AnthropologyMuhlenberg CollegeAllentownUSA

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