This article examines the interface between modernity and traditional cultural values. It suggests that Iranian society, in spite of its Islamic theocratic regime, is on one level an open society and has shown a surprising degree of flexibility in adapting to change. Yet on another level, Iran remains a closed society with strong cultural ties that act as unifying factors controlling the boundaries of interaction between the old and the new. One of the manifestations of the deep-rooted values that determine the form and extent of the acceptance of modernity is the consideration of one’s ‘face’ in public. ‘Face’ acts as a regulating agent directing the choices people make vis-à-vis societal change. The article concludes that social interactions and decisions taken by individuals in all public aspects of their lives, regardless of class, age, ethnic origins or gender, continue to be profoundly influenced by ‘face’.
Books, Films and Conferences
Zyarah, Khaled (1997), Gulf Folk Arts, trans. by K. Bishtawi (Doha: Al-Ahleir Press). 63 Arabic pages and 58 English pages. Every chapter has a black and white picture.
Al Bagdadi, Khaled (2004), Hassan Al Mulla. e Memory of Man and Place (Doha: Doha Modern Printing Press). 184 pages, illustrated in colour. 10 pages of English text, trans. by Samar Al Hussein. Taha, Dr. Munir (2003), Qatar in Prehistoric Times (Doha: Antiquities and Museums Department). 144 pages, 4 maps, 46 pages illustrated heavily in col- our or black and white pictures and drawings.
Sheikholeslami, Mahvash (2003), Murderer or Murdered, 26 minutes.
‘Gamete and Embryo Donation in Infertility Treatment’, 1–2 March 2006, Tehran, Iran
Emerging Kinship in a Changing Middle East
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.
Kinship in the Middle East
Soheila Shahshahani and Soraya Tremayne
The study of kinship remains central to anthropology and to understanding the social world in which we live. Although key debates on kinship have stayed embedded in anthropological studies, the impact of global changes affecting marriage, divorce, family structure, and the inevitable consequences of the interaction between biotechnologies and social and cultural practices have all served to bring back kinship into anthropological discourse in a forceful way. As a result, there is a tendency to move away from the distinction between the biological and social aspects of kinship and to focus on emerging forms of relatedness and their broader implications. In such an approach, relatedness is viewed as a process that is fluid and mutable, and that is constructed through active human agency. It expands to include changing gender relations, new family forms and the outcome of assisted reproductive technologies.
Strategies and Developments
David P. Shankland and Soraya Tremayne
The consideration of faith and ethnic minorities in the Middle East remains today, as it has been for some time, immensely relevant. In this issue, we see this subject approached from a refreshingly wide perspective. Yet, in spite of their diversity, the topics addressed by the contributors reflect many shared situations in today’s Middle East, and possibly beyond, which often have their roots in mass migration, war and conflict, and globalisation. Through their work, we see once more the way that anthropology is uniquely qualified to reflect upon the reformulation of cultures in the modern world whilst simultaneously highlighting the fate of those who fall between the interstices of dominant political paradigms.
Jean-Pierre Digard, Soraya Tremayne, Taiba Sadeq, Soheila Shahshahani and Mary Elaine Hegland
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.
Abul, Shaker (2011), The Winds Are Fair, Same as Our Intention, 22 minutes.
Saadi, Shilan (2011), An Alley Behind Our House, 12 minutes.
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
Jean-Pierre Digard, Sigal Nagar-Ron, Soraya Tremayne, Soheila Shahshahani and Veronica Buffon
Anatoly M. Khazanov and Günther Schlee (eds.) (2011), Who Owns the Stock? Collective and Multiple Property Rights in Animals (New York/Oxford: Berghahn Books), "Integration and Conflict Studies", Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle/Saale, vol. 5, 332 pp., 8 maps, 19 tables, 66 fig., biblio., index.
Motzafi-Haller, Pnina (2012), In the Cement Boxes: Mizrahi Women in the Israeli Periphery (The Hebrew University Magnes Press), pp. 276, ISBN: 978- 965-493-650-7.
Helie, Anissa and Hoodfar, Homa (eds.) (2012), Sexuality in Muslim Contexts: Restrictions and Resistance (London: Zed Books), Pb., glossary, xiv + 346 pp., index, ISBN: 978-1-78032-286-8.
What is Farhâdi Trying to Portray of Iranian Everyday Life and Iranian Characters in His Films?
Encounters and Engagements: Creating New Agendas for Medical Anthropology, 12–14 June 2013, EASA/SMA/URV Joint International Conference, Tarragona, Spain.
Zuzanna Olszewska, Veronica Doubleday, Irene Kucera, Michael Humphrey, Mary Elaine Hegland, Soheila Shahshahani, Marcia Inhorn, Suad Joseph, Soraya Tremayne and José-Alberto Navarro
Coburn, Noah (2011), Bazaar Politics: Power and Pottery in an Afghan Market Town (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press). 254 pp. ISBN 978-0-8047- 7672-1.
Heath, Jennifer and Zahedi, Ashraf (eds.) (2009), Land of the Unconquerable: The Lives of Contemporary Afghan Women (Berkeley: University of California Press). 393 pp. ISBN 978-0-520-26186-0.
Barfield, Thomas (2010), Afghanistan: A Cultural and Political History (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press). 389 pp. ISBN 978-0-691-14568-6.
Oeppen, Cery and Schlenkhoff, Angela (eds.) (2010), Beyond the ‘Wild Tribes’: Understanding Modern Afghanistan and Its Diaspora (London: Hurst). 233 pp. ISBN 978-1-84904-055-6.
Hyndman-Rizk, Nelia (2011), My Mother’s Table: At Home in the Maronite Diaspora, a Study of Emigration from Hadchit, North Lebanon to Australia and America (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing). 290 pp. ISBN (13) 978-0-691-14568-6.
Loeffler, Agnes (2007), Allopathy Goes Native: Traditional Versus Modern Medicine in Iran (New York: Taurus Academic Studies). 224 pp. ISBN 978-1- 85043-942-4.
Oskoui, Mehrdad (2007), Last Days of Winter, Iran, 52 minutes.
Sheykholeslami, Mahvash (2012), Dark Room, Iran, 40 minutes.
45th Annual Meeting and Conference of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA), 1–4 December 2011, Washington, DC
‘Globalized Fatherhood’, 13–15 April 2012, Yale University, New Haven, CT