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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.