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Mary Elaine Hegland

Zahra Tizro, Domestic Violence in Iran: Women, Marriage and Islam (New York: Routledge, 2012)

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Tajik Male Labour Migration and Women Left Behind

Can They Resist Gender and Generational Hierarchies?

Mary Elaine Hegland

Poverty and unemployment send at least one million Tajiks to Russia for low-level labour migration. The migrants, mainly male, leave women behind to manage on their own. As a result, women have to work all the harder to try to feed themselves and their children, often against great odds. Male migrant labour to Russia, along with unemployment, alcoholism, drug dependency and other problems, also results in a shortage of marriageable males. This is a serious problem because Tajiks expect girls to marry early. Globalisation, poverty and male labour migration serve to exacerbate existing gender and generational hierarchies.

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Introduction

Popular Religious Practices and Perceptions in the Middle East and Central Asia

Mary Elaine Hegland

People at the popular level often hold religious perceptions and engage in religious practices that make sense to them within their own existential situations, even if they fall outside orthodoxy. Although political leaders and religious authorities may attempt to mould people’s religious perceptions and practices according to their own ideas and interpretations of religion, people frequently find ways to evade or ignore such pressures, to rationalise their deviations or to continue to live and think according to their own self-generated religious frameworks. The authors of the articles in this special issue provide examples of how people’s actual practices and religious beliefs arise out of their own personal situations and histories though at odds with the pronouncements of religious specialists.

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Aliabad of Shiraz

Transformation from Village to Suburban Town

Mary Elaine Hegland

Anthropological participant observation, in-depth, open-ended interviewing and oral history reveal aspects of social change and modernisation that have taken place in Aliabad, Iran, over more than half a century. These developments have transpired in interplay with economic, political and cultural processes. As a result of economic transformation from sharecropping and trading to urban-style jobs, and due to outside influences as a consequence of advances in transportation, communication, education and travel, villagers have been able to make other choices. Through bottom-up social and political change, relationships in all areas of life have become less authoritarian and hierarchical and more egalitarian and subject to negotiation and individuation.

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Mary Elaine Hegland

Bridget Blomfield, The Language of Tears, My Journey into the World of Shi’i Muslim Women (Ashland, OR: White Cloud Press, 2015) Diane D’Souza, Partners of Zaynab: A Gendered Perspective of Shia Muslim Faith (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2014) Karen G. Ruffle, Gender, Sainthood, and Everyday Practice in South Asian Shi’ism (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press)

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Reports

Films and Conferences

Soheila Shahshahani and Mary Elaine Hegland

FILMS

First Film Exhibition of Tehran’s Quarters, 30 October–2 November 2006.

CONFERENCES

Sixth Biennial of Iranian Studies Conference, 3–5 August 2006, London, U.K.

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Methods Applied

Political Transformation and Recent Ethnographic Fieldwork in Iran

Mary Elaine Hegland and Erika Friedl

In the 1970s social cultural anthropology in Iran was beginning to flourish. However, with the Iranian Revolution of 1979 and the subsequent Islamic Republic of Iran, fieldwork in Iran became extremely problematic. Foreign anthropologists faced formidable obstacles to obtaining visas and permits. Anthropologists working inside Iran were also discouraged from anthropological participant observation. As a result, during the post revolutionary period, few anthropologists have been conducting fieldwork in Iran. Recently, some hopeful signs for a possible reestablishment of anthropology can be noted, among them the return of young Iranian anthropologists, from countries where they have grown up and gained an education, to their homeland for dissertation research. This article discusses the influences on fieldwork of politics—international, national and local—and projects, problems and strategies of some anthropologists who have conducted recent ethnographic fieldwork in Iran.

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Modernisation and Social Change

The Impact on Iranian Elderly Social Networks and Care Systems

Mary Elaine Hegland, Zahra Sarraf and Mohammad Shahbazi

Anthropological field research in Iran, mainly in the village of Aliabad and in nearby Shiraz in south-west Iran, has documented radical social, cultural, religious and economic change over the last 28 years. Increasing emphasis on the nuclear rather than the extended family and pressures for geographic and social mobility have profoundly influenced the lives of the elderly. The traditional family system of support for elders - with regard to emotional and social needs, as well as financial assistance and physical care - is breaking down. Social scientists, social workers and health personnel must focus on adequately addressing the needs and concerns of the Iranian elderly in the twenty-first century and on developing alternative systems to deal with key elderly issues of health, well-being and social incorporation.

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Reports

Publications, Films and Conferences

Babak Rezvani, Sophie Accolas, Mary Elaine Hegland and Clemence Scalbert Yucel

PUBLICATIONS

Steppe Magazine: A Central Asian Panorama (Nettlebed, Oxfordshire: Steppe International), £10/$20.

FILMS

Omidvari, Mohammad Mehdi (2006), La plainte des bateaux enchaînés, Iran, vidéo, couleur, 38 minutes.

CONFERENCES

‘Kinship in Iran and Neighbouring Countries’, 20–22 June 2008, Tehran, Iran

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Reports

Publications, Films and Conferences

Jean-Pierre Digard, Soraya Tremayne, Taiba Sadeq, Soheila Shahshahani and Mary Elaine Hegland

PUBLICATIONS

Jacquesson, Svetlana (2010), Pastoréalismes: Anthropologie historique des processus d’intégration chez les Kirghiz du Tian Shan intérieur (Wiesbaden: Reichert/ « Nomaden und Sesshafte », Band 14). xii + 281 pp., bibliography, index. ISBN 978-3895007699.

Newcomb, Rachel (2009), Women of Fes: Ambiguities of Urban Life in Morocco (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press). 234 pp., bibliography, index. ISBN 978-0812241242.

FILMS

Abul, Shaker (2011), The Winds Are Fair, Same as Our Intention, 22 minutes.

Saadi, Shilan (2011), An Alley Behind Our House, 12 minutes.

CONFERENCES

Association for the Study of Persianate Societies (ASPS) Conference, 4–8 January 2012, Hyderabad, India

International Society for Iranian Studies (ISIS) Conference, 1–5 August 2012, Istanbul, Turkey