Rethinking Minorities’ Integration into the Host Society: The Case of Indians in the Baharestan Neighbourhood of Tehran

Document Type: Original Article

Authors

1 Assistant Professor of Urban Planning, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran

2 M.A. in Conservation and Restoration of the Urban Heritage, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran

Abstract

This study on Indians in the Baharestan neighbourhood of Tehran investigates the nature of their social integration, and the factors which affect it. By considering integration as a two-way process, this research aims to contribute to the literature on integration, through the discovery of the status of foreign immigrants in a developing country with particular cultural, social, and religious regulations and norms. Based on semi-structured interviews with Iranian and Indian residents in the Baharestan neighbourhood, the study shows that these two groups live in Baharestan without tension. Using the theory of integration proposed by Bakker et al. (2014) as a “two-way” process, we argue in this study that the approaches taken by the two groups of Iranian and Indian residents have largely led to their social integration. The Indian minorities have preserved their own culture and adopted part of the host culture in order to respect the host community; likewise, the host community has accepted immigrant groups with an understanding of cultural differences, and this mutual respect has led to neighbourhood harmony. However, despite the willingness of both groups to expand their social interaction, this is difficult due to restrictions imposed on minorities, and insufficient public space.

Keywords

Main Subjects