Consumer Culture and Symbolic Capital in a Differentiated Pakistani Transnational Community: ‘It is a Fake Type of Izzat’

Alexandra Hall, Stephen Taylor*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Drawing on original qualitative data this article analyses fluid and shifting notions of symbolic capital within the Pakistani diaspora in Newcastle upon Tyne, North East England. Focusing on the South Asian concept of izzat (honour/prestige) it is argued that the field of local symbolic prestige is adapting to the macro context laid down by consumer culture as its mechanisms permeate the structural, cultural and everyday lives of this transnational community. This is partially and differentially influencing forms of cultural and symbolic capital accumulation in the community, as evidenced by subtle and varied changes in the appropriation and exchange of izzat. Izzat is a phenomenon which has been centrally embedded within Pakistani cultures and societies for centuries. Our key argument is that the context and nature of izzat among the Pakistani transnational community studied are being significantly shaped and altered by the role of consumer culture in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century, but that this simultaneously maps onto existing hierarchies and social differentiation within this transnational community, as well as contemporary discourse on and divisions over Muslim identity and piety.
Original languageEnglish
Article number003802612311771
Pages (from-to)1172-1190
Number of pages19
JournalThe Sociological Review
Issue number5
Early online date9 Jun 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2023

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