The scope of my research is to understand how Iranian-American communities transfer pieces of American culture into their own cultural practices and whether and how they maintain the symbolic traits of Iranian heritage. As such, my research uses the funds of identity/funds of knowledge-approach to represent Iranian-American households and demonstrate how these families reach a self-understanding and communicate that understanding to others. Utilizing this approach with Iranian-American’s particularly with the second and third generational members of the household will help to comprehend the importance of Persian culture and traditions but also the cultural transformations and cultural preservations that are valued among the second generation.
The community has established a sense of Iranian and American identity that is expressed through the accumulation of symbolic capitals, as well as social and cultural advantages. The current scholarly narrative regarding Iranians in the United States is dominated by the exile experience. That is, Iranian migration to host countries birthed diasporic conditions, which formed a new, constructed identity abroad using imagination, nostalgia, and memories (Shahideh, 2004). In contrast, a limited narrative exists particularly for the second and third generation, Iranian-Americans who are at an impasse in building an identity– a constructed identity forming out of familial ties that retain the strong links to Iran, but whose experiences are grounded in this country.