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Editorial

Edited by Soheila Shahshahani

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Finding a Place to Sit

How Qatari Women Combine Cultural and Kinship Capital in the Home Majlis

Rehenuma Asmi

Abstract

As Qatari women attend and graduate from institutions of higher education and many enter the work force, their mobility and visibility increasingly juxtaposes their roles in the family and tribe with their new roles as partners in the creation of a nation. I utilise ethnographic data from fieldwork in two Qatari home majâles (sitting rooms) to understand how Qatari women negotiate their new roles in society. Qatari women have increasing forms of cultural capital in one arena but also have recourse to kinship capital, where gender segregation and family name protect women’s social status. I argue that Qatari women combine the different forms of capital available to them in order to ‘find a place to sit’ in the new Qatari nation.

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Interaction between Society and Medical Ethics in Saudi Arabia

Abdulla Al Sayyari, Fayez Hejaili, and Faissal Shaheen

Abstract

Discussions on bioethical issues within the Saudi society are a relatively new development. However, they have taken increasing importance over the last two decades. This accompanied the massive advances in medical care, the beginning of medical and biological research, the establishment of pharmaceutical companies and the exposure of society to international norms. By and large the driving forces of the need for bioethical discourses are the practical needs arising from these recent developments in our region rather than that being due to theoretical or academic investigation. In this article, we discuss issues related to the interaction between society and medical ethics in Saudi Arabia with particular reference to organ transplantation ethics.

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Iranian Women and the Politics of Diasporic Websites in the Digital Age

Sanaz Nasirpour

Abstract

Iranian women in the diaspora have a long history of representing their experience of emigration and exile and of defining their identity and the status of women inside Iran. In the early 1990s, Internet access gave them more liberty of expression and enabled collaboration around women’s issues. This article seeks to answer the following research question: How do diasporic websites assist women’s rights activists in tackling women’s issues and supporting women’s status in Iran? It aims to explore online efforts of Iranian women’s rights activists in the diaspora and more importantly to investigate the functions of the Iranian diasporic websites addressing women’s issues in Iran. Through content analysis of ten diasporic websites, as well as interviews with women’s rights activists in the Iranian diaspora, this article argues that these websites have the potential to transfer information and make connections between those inside and outside Iran, addressing diasporic concerns and controversial issues.

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Publications

Manijeh Nasrabadi, Maryam Aras, Alexander Djumaev, Sina Zekavat, Mary Elaine Hegland, Rosa Holman, and Amina Tawasil

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Transnation and Transgeneration in Zoya Pirzad’s We’ll Get Used to It (‘Âdat Mikonim)

Farideh Pourgiv

Abstract

In her novels, acclaimed Armenian Iranian novelist Zoya Pirzad engages her characters in transgenerational and transnational conflict in their interaction with each other. In her last novel, We’ll Get Used to It (‘Âdat Mikonim), a household of three women, consisting of a widowed grandmother, a divorcee mother and a daughter, is presented, and the absentee father, who lives in France, pulls the strings of the young daughter to gain control. The novel represents the conflict of three generations, two decades after the 1979 revolution. This article examines the ways this fictional representation of transgenerational and transnational conflict reflects and throws light on the nature of everyday life in contemporary Iran, thus contributing to anthropological knowledge and analysis of Iran and the complexities of its diverse communities.

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Blood and the City

Animal Representations and Urban (Dis)orders during the ‘Feast of the Sacrifice’ in Istanbul and Khartoum

Alice Franck, Jean Gardin, and Olivier Givre

Abstract

Based on comparative fieldwork studies of the Muslim ‘Feast of the Sacrifice’, this article questions the places, shapes and stakes of ritual animal death in the urban space. The examples of Istanbul (Turkey) and Khartoum (Sudan) illustrate different but comparable perceptions, practices and management of a ritual event simultaneously associated with religious traditions and confronted with deep transformations in urbanised and globalised societies. Between ritual normalcy and controversial practice, sacrifice in the city is not reducible to a religious matter but addresses at once spatial, social and cultural issues, informed by economic and political stakes. Through a ritual performance and its manifold aspects, the article explores the multiple and evolving representations of the place and role of animals (and their death) in an urban context.

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Des dromadaires et des hommes au Moyen-Orient

Identité et modernité

Bernard Faye

Abstract

Regarded as an animal of the past and supporting the eternal image of the ‘ship of the desert’, the dromedary camel is facing deep changes in its rearing system, causing significant changes in human relationships. A somewhat idealized virtuous animal among the nomad with which it shares the rough life of deserts, it becomes only one cog in the intensification process of settled production systems where it needs to better express its potential of production to avoid the risk of being marginalized, its utilitarian function becoming predominant. However, the urbanized Middle East likes to remember the virtues of the animal and its products, the dromedary returning this animal idealized for a weekend where the city dweller looking over its lost emotional proximity, rather than the economic benefits of its products.

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Donner la mort au gibier sur le territoire sacré de la Mecque

Une vieille controverse (VIIe-VIIIe siècles)

Hocine Benkheira

Abstract

The Qur’ân (5, 95) prohibits hunting for pilgrims at Mecca. If they do not observe this prohibition, they are obliged to sacrifice an animal. Through the analysis of the casuistry of this prohibition during the early Islamic period, we try to understand its meaning. We put forward that the prohibition means that wild animals are under the protection of the god of the Ka’ba.

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Every Dog Has Its Day

New Patterns in Pet Keeping in Iran

Anahita Grisoni and Marjan Mashkour

Abstract

In the perspective of human–animal relationships, considered a social change marker, pet dogs in modern Iranian society constitute a form of acculturation that started under the former regime and perpetuates, if not intensifies, nowadays. At first glance, this acculturation form seems to be directly borrowed from Western patterns, but this article shows the peculiarities of the adaptation models to the Iranian context. This work, based on individual, semi-structured interviews with dog owners aims to study the subjective representations of pet dogs and the acquisition and cohabitation material conditions with this animal, within the context of a changing contemporary Iranian society.