Economic Transitions and Land Ownership

Challenging Traditions among Rural Yezidis in Post-Soviet Armenia

in Anthropology of the Middle East
Author:
Hamlet MelkumyanInstitute of Archaeology and Ethnography hamlet.melkumyan@iae.am

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Roman HovsepyanInstitute of Archaeology and Ethnography roman.hovsepyan@iae.am

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The Yezidis of Armenia, traditionally considered transhumant pastoralists, have been changing their economic habits over the past century. Nowadays, they are more engaged in agriculture than they were a century ago. The social and cultural backgrounds of these transformations are discussed, showing the involvement of the treatment of the Armenians and the adaptive character of the Yezidis’ economy. Presently, the Yezidis practise animal breeding and plant cultivation in parallel, using the human resources available in their family. The ongoing transformations in the economy and their engagement in agriculture are challenging the conservative lifestyle of the Yezidi community. Thus, the people who have shifted to the agrarian economy are seen as outsiders in the traditional framework and are perceived to be of low prestige.

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