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The Continuity of Settlement of Social Feuds among Kurds in the Kurdistan Region

The Case of Mektebî Komellayetî

Krzysztof Lalik

Abstract

The autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan Region currently prides itself not only in its political autonomy and rapid economic development but also in promotion of the idea of human rights and the rule of law. It can be understood that modernising processes may inevitably lead to atrophy of traditional customs and social organisation of Kurdish society. One can easily discern that many cases of disputes among the inhabitants of the Kurdistan Region are processed according to judiciary principles that contradict the official legal doctrines. The examination and comparison of this mechanism in the previous century and nowadays led the author to the conclusion that the unofficial system of justice actually refers to the old tribal mechanism of solving feuds that has been repeatedly practised by bygone Kurdish generations.

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Family Life in Tunisia after the Revolution of 2011

Two Women and Two Men in a Changing Time

Irene Maffi

Abstract

Postcolonial Tunisia has gone through substantial transformations of its legal and socio-economic structures. Habib Bourguiba began the work of social and juridical engineering aimed to make the independent state a modern country, contributing to profound changes in family structures. In this article, I intend to investigate the family life of two women and two men with whom I established friendships during the fieldwork I carried out in Tunisia between 2013 and 2014. Examining the relationships of my interlocutors with their family members, I will depict an ethnographic portrait of a few Tunisian families. While they are not representative of Tunisian society, they nevertheless allow insight into a specific sector of it and help understand the effects of the revolution of 2011 on family structures.

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Introduction

Emerging Kinship in a Changing Middle East

Soraya Tremayne

Abstract

The introduction to this issue has two strands. First, it contextualises the articles, which address kinship from varied perspectives, and situates them in their broader cultural context. Second, it adopts a comparative perspective by differentiating between the present articles with those published a decade earlier on the same themes in this journal, to examine whether, how and to what extent kinship has changed in the face of modernity, globalisation, wars, migrations and political change. It concludes that, compared with a decade ago, kinship has not only not weakened, but it has revived further and penetrated other institutions beyond family, or called upon to ensure and protect the continuity of cultural norms and values, from the threats paused by modernity and by the global, cultural and political invasions.

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Kinship among the Ġorbat of Babol

How an Anthropology of Childhood Reveals Kinship Structure

Mitra Asfari

Abstract

The Ġorbat are one of the peripatetic groups in Iran known colloquially as Kowli (Gypsy). In scientific literature, we notice a lack of knowledge about this group. The only image of Ġorbats for urban Iranians consists of begging children at crossroads. As the Ġorbat child plays a crucial role in the social division of tasks, the present study approaches this group from the perspective of the anthropology of childhood. Analysis of childcare practices, the status of children in the group and their duties towards adults reveal specific models of kinship among Ġorbats. In addition, child circulation within the lineage reveals certain invariables in the Ġorbat’s structure of kinship. Thus, we can explain new modifications in the group’s task division and the underlying logics of child labour.

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Kinship Systems of Xoja Groups in Southern Kazakhstan

Azim Malikov

Abstract

The Kazakhs, Turkmens, Tajiks, Uyghurs and Uzbeks in Central Asia share some distinct religious elite groups – Xojas – some lineages of which appear in two or more of them. The Xoja group is a patrilineage, which traces kinship through blood relationships. Endogamous marriages prevail among the Uzbek-speaking Xoja contrary to descendants of nomadic, Kazakh-speaking Xojas. In this article I compare the kinship systems of the Uzbek-speaking Xoja of the Uzbek people and the Kazakh-speaking Xoja of the Kazakh people and analyse their transformation in the twentieth century. The analysis shows that interpretation of differences in kinship terminology is situational: in some cases it is interpreted as an example of adaptation to different cultures, and in other instances it may serve as a symbol of belonging.

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Replenishing Milk Sons

Changing Kinship Practices among the Sahrāwī, North Africa

Konstantina Isidoros

Abstract

Since the decolonisation period, the Sahrāwī in the western Sahara Desert, North Africa have experienced very specific sociopolitical transformations relating to their millennia-old specialisation in nomadic pastoralism. This article examines the effects of such transformations on particular forms of making kin out of others – milk kinship. Various political circumstances have obliged the Sahrāwī to restructure their customary principles of organisation, possibly diminishing these practices. I question the effects of the loss of milk kin – particularly of milk sons – and the strains on customary matrilocal relations in the survival pressure on kinship relying solely upon ‘blood’ sons to replace these ‘missing men’.

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Reports

Publications, Exhibitions and Conferences

Sara Farhan, Paul Fox, and Fakhri Haghani

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Šahrzâd and Šahrbâz

A Story Illustrated in Signs

Elham Etemadi

Abstract

The Thousand and One Nights was illustrated under Sani’ ol-Molk’s supervision in 1854–1859 in Iran. In this article, I analyse an illustration of the story of Ŝahrzâd and Šahrbâz, which is the only image in the manuscript that displays the two characters in sexual relation. In analysing the illustration, I address three factors: the handwriting on the top left corner of the illustrated page, the difference between the illustration and the narrative in terms of the timing of the story, and the absence of Donyâzâd from the image. I argue that these factors reveal the painter’s adaptation techniques and his complex interpretation of the scene.

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A Brief History of Childhood in Boir Ahmad, Iran

Erika Friedl

Abstract

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.

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Conflicts in Children’s Everyday Lives

Fresh Perspectives on Protracted Crisis in Lebanon

Erik van Ommering

Abstract

Based on child-oriented, ethnographic research in Lebanese school communities, this article offers an alternative approach to understanding the multitude of conflicts affecting Lebanon. It highlights how young Lebanese engage with corollaries of conflict in their everyday lives and simultaneously points to sources of security and resilience that children employ to confront adverse conditions. These resources, which are located in homes, schools, the environment and the ways in which young people engage their surroundings, all face unique conflict-induced pressures and dynamics. Approaching children in their generational and political contexts can help us identify and strengthen their capacities to confront, rather than reinforce, adverse conditions. In turn, this may offer a more sustainable way of promoting peace in conflict-affected societies.