A Brief History of Childhood in Boir Ahmad, Iran

in Anthropology of the Middle East
Erika Friedl Western Michigan University erika.friedl@yahoo.com

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Ideas about childhood and children’s experiences in a tribal area in southwest Iran have been changing along with major local sociopolitical relations over the past century quite in accordance with the functionalist model of education and socialization. However, in the most recent stage – a globalizing, consumer-driven society in a closed, totalitarian political system – child-rearing prepares children to have great aspirations and be dedicated consumers without furnishing opportunities and habits to attain the one and sustain the other. The ethnographic details about this development described in this article in the format of three stages are based on longitudinal anthropological fieldwork in Boir Ahmad over 50 years.

Contributor Notes

Erika Friedl is the Edwin E. Meader Professor Emerita of Anthropology at Western Michigan University. She has conducted ethnographic research in southwest Iran since 1965 and is the author of five books and numerous articles on the people of Boir Ahmad. Her most recent volumes are on aspects of folklore, such as Warm Hearts and Sharp Tongues: Life in 555 Proverbs from the Zagros Mountains of Iran (New Academic Press, 2015) and Folksongs from the Mountains of Iran: Culture, Poetics and Everyday Philosophies (I.B. Tauris, 2017). E-mail: erika.friedl@yahoo.com

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