Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvi
  2. Sonja Moghaddari
    Pages 1-38 Open Access
  3. Sonja Moghaddari
    Pages 39-79 Open Access
  4. Sonja Moghaddari
    Pages 81-124 Open Access
  5. Sonja Moghaddari
    Pages 125-161 Open Access
  6. Sonja Moghaddari
    Pages 163-195 Open Access
  7. Sonja Moghaddari
    Pages 197-225 Open Access
  8. Sonja Moghaddari
    Pages 227-243 Open Access
  9. Back Matter
    Pages 245-248

About this book


This book explores the interrelation between diversity in migrants’ internal relations and their experience of inequality in local and global contexts. Taking the case of Hamburg-based Iranians, it traces evaluation processes in ties between professionals – artists and entrepreneurs – since the 1930s, examining migrants’ potential to act upon hierarchical structures. Building on long-term ethnographic fieldwork and archival work, the book centers on differentiation, combining a diversity study with a focus on locality, with a transnational migration study, analysing strategies of capital creation and anthropological value theory.
The analysis of migrants’ agency tackles questions of independence and cooperation in kinship, associations, transnational entrepreneurship and cultural events within the context of the position of Germany and Iran in the global politico-economic landscape. This material will be of interest to scholars and students of anthropology, sociology, migration, urbanism and Iranian studies, as well as Iranian-Germans and those interested in the entanglement of global and local power relations.


Iran Germany Transnational capital accumulation Internal diversity Pierre Bourdieu integration social cohesion immigration social differentiation internal differentiation migration

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology and Social ResearchUniversity of TrentoTrentoItaly

About the authors

Sonja Moghaddari is Visiting Postdoctoral Researcher at the Scuola Normale Superiore, Italy. 

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Internal Diversity
  • Book Subtitle Iranian Germans Between Local Boundaries and Transnational Capital
  • Authors Sonja Moghaddari
  • Series Title Global Diversities
  • Series Abbreviated Title Global Diversities
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2020
  • License CC BY
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages Social Sciences Social Sciences (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-030-27789-5
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-030-27792-5
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-030-27790-1
  • Series ISSN 2662-2580
  • Series E-ISSN 2662-2599
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XVI, 248
  • Number of Illustrations 5 b/w illustrations, 12 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Migration
  • Buy this book on publisher's site


“Making sense of local and transnational engagements, Moghaddari pushes us to take a closer look at the interstices of manifold diversities and cross-border ties. This rigorous and rich study offers new insights into migrants’ agency in a little studied group.” (Thomas Faist, Professor of Transnational Relations, Development and Migration, Bielefeld University, Germany)

“Internal Diversity is a careful reading of a community spanning multiple generations, in which businessmen, students, artists, and professionals have generated myriad markers of distinction. Moghaddari destabilizes the category of “Iranian-German” and forces us to bring the local and transnational together without collapsing them into a unified whole.” (Arang Keshavarzian, Associate Professor of Middle Eastern Studies, New York University, USA)

“Moghaddari’s rich ethnography of the fragmentation and diversity of what is assumed to be homogeneous diasporic Iranianness is – theoretically as well as empirically – a major contribution to larger fields of migration and diaspora studies.” (Shahram Khosravi, Professor of Social Anthropology, Stockholm University, Sweden)

“Sonja Moghaddari documents the social life of people of Iranian descent in the German city of Hamburg. Through suggestive ethnographic vignettes, in constant dialogue with theoretical discussions, she depicts subtle processes of social differentiation. The book harmoniously brings together local, national and transnational dimensions.” (Alessandro Monsutti, Professor, Department of Anthropology and Sociology, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Switzerland)

“Sonja Moghaddari’s study on Iranian-Germans is a vivid ethnography of an understudied migrant group, enhancing our understanding by providing a valuable historical perspective. Beyond the empirical insights, Moghaddari also makes an important contribution to our understanding of cultural capital in migration, through a perceptive analysis of differentiation, the workings of capitals across fields and the politics of value. While contributing to nuanced scholarly debate, the book's lively style makes it compelling reading for academics and students.” (Umut Erel, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Social Sciences, The Open University, UK)

“With a keen ethnographic eye, Sonja Moghaddari delves into the histories and present-day worlds of Iranians in Hamburg, Germany. Across several strategic case studies of familial and professional ties, she reveals how transnational capital and kin networks shape local boundaries of social status and difference. A significant contribution to the field of Iranian Diaspora Studies, this is a highly readable, engaging book that brims with original insight into an understudied population and phenomenon.” (Neda Maghbouleh, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Toronto, Canada)

“An empirically rich and theoretically informed analysis of the interlinkages between diversity and transnationality among Iranian-Germans.” (Boris Nieswand, Professor, Institute of Sociology, University of Tübingen, Germany)