This article aims to analyse the evolution of âshurâ Shi’ite rituals in an Iranian village, in light of the socio-economic transformations of the last thirty years. Studying these rites as a fait social total, we show that they reflect many aspects of local life. Thus, the increasing dependence of the village on the urban regional centre, the reorganisation of the ties between neighbouring but antagonistic localities, the decreasing status of the great landowners and the increasing social homogenisation, the development of rural exodus and recent national history (the Iran-Iraq war, the establishment of the Islamic Republic and the development of religious reformism) – all have had an influence on the organisation of âshurâ ceremonies. The many functions of this ritual appear then more clearly, manifesting the manner of regional integration, reaffirming internal hierarchies and communal identity, and showing the ever-increasing dependence on the urban world.
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