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Status Translation

Central Asian Migrants between Ethnic Discrimination and Religious Integration

Sophie Roche

For migrants coming from Central Asia to Moscow, the Cathedral Mosque functions as a central hub to organise their life in the Russian capital. The reason for this is not predominantly their faith or religion. Rather, this place of worship opens a space in which these mostly Tajik people translate their status from that of a stranger exposed to xenophobia and distrust to the respected position of a proper Muslim.

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The Unfolding of the Tulip

From Ethnic to Religious Identification among Volga Tatars

Jesko Schmoller

In Tatarstan in the 1990s and early 2000s, a switch took place from an identity primarily based on ethnicity, to an identity more strongly informed by religious belonging. This happened in official political and scholarly Islamic discourse as well as in everyday Muslim life, and is linked to different variants of Tatar nationalism.

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Sachiko Hosoya

Abstract

In this article, the change in attitude towards marriage and reproduction among Iranian people with a genetic illness called thalassemia has been investigated, along with an analysis of the impact brought by the national thalassemia prevention programmes, which were introduced to discourage marriage between carriers (thalassemia minor) and the birth of severe homozygous cases (thalassemia major). Marriage and reproductive choices of people with both thalassemia minor and thalassemia major were focused upon in order to prevent the birth of affected babies. Thalassemia carrier couples prefer to choose abortion of affected foetuses, rather than giving up their marriage, and some people with thalassemia major choose a person with thalassemia major as a marriage partner, though they must give up having their own child.

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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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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