Collection Description

Culture Name

Iran

Culture Description

Iran is a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural society located in southwestern Asia, primarily on a high plateau situated between the Caspian Sea to the north and the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman to the south. Approximately half of the total population speak Persian (Farsi) and affiliated dialects as their primary language. Non-Persian speakers include Kurds, Lurs, Baluchis, and Armenians. Iran’s neighbors to the north are Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Tuirkmenistan; to the east, Pakistan and Afghanistan; and to the west, Turkey and Iraq.

Note

Select the Culture Summary link above for a longer description of the culture.

Region

Middle East --Middle East

Countries

Iran

OWC Code

MA01

Number of Documents

66

Note: Select the Collection Documents tab above to browse documents.

Number of Pages

5759

Collection Overview

Documents referred to in this section are include in the eHRAF collction and are referenced by author, date of publication, and eHRAF document number.

The Iran collection consists of 65 documents, 64 of which are in English, and one (Masse, 1938, no. 7), a translation from the French. The time span for these documents ranges from about 2000 B.C. to 2006 A.D. Probably the most comprehensive coverage of Iranian culture history and ethnography, in summary form, will be found in Beeman, 2006, no. 104. Several other studies in this collection also provide some supplementary data on Iranian history and ethnography but these are relatively time dated in coverage. These include Masse, 1938, no. 7 (to the 1930s), Haas, 1946, no. 9 (to the 1940s), and Anonymous, 1953, no. 41 (to the 1950s). The works by Metz, 1989, no. 81, and Hooglund, 1989, no. 100 do not extend their general ethnographic coverage beyond 1987. Other ethnographic topics discussed in this collection are: agriculture and irrigation development in: Fitt, 1953, no. 21; Hadary, 1951, no. 26; Noel, 1944, no. 50; and Fisher, 1938, no. 40. Land tenure and land reform are primary topics in: Lambton, 1953, no. 3; and Keddie, 1972, no. 98. Various aspects of Iranian economics are described in detail in: Michalis, 1954, no. 68; Gupta, 1947, no. 5; and MacPherson, 1989, no. 101. Culture change figures prominently in many of the documents in this collection, but especially in: Hooglund, 1981, no. 87; Good, 1981, no. 88; and Nassehi-Behnam, 1985, no. 77. Several other topics given particular attention in this collection are: gender roles and women's status in Iranian society in: Higgins, 1994, no. 93; Friedl, 1994, no. 96; Aghajanian, 1994, no. 94; and Heglund, 2004, no. 75. Industry and industrial development in: International Labor Office, 1950, 1949, nos. 39 and 47; Sinclair, 1951, no. 20; Overseas Consultants, 1949, no. 58; and Naficy, 1981, no. 89. Nomadism and minority groups in Iran in: Salzman, 2002, no. 82; Higgins, 1986, no. 84; and Kazemi, 1980, no. 85. Politics form a major topic of discussion in: Hooglund, 1989, no. 102; and Elwell-Sutton, 1949, no. 23. A detailed description of the Islamic Revolution of 1978-1979 will be found in Fischer, 1980, no. 92.

The reader is also referred to the works of Erika Friedl on the Lur of western Iran who basically share similar cultural traits with the other people of Iran (see the eHRAF collection Lur).

For more detailed information on the content of the individual works in this collection, see the abstracts in the citations preceding each document.

The culture summary was written by William O. Beeman in May-June, 2006. The Synopsis and indexing notes were written by John Beierle in June 2006. We thank Daniel Bradburd, William Beeman, and Lois Beck for providing general advice on cultures in Iran.

ASSEMBLY OF EXPERTS - a form of parliamentary assembly; also a council of religious judges - use PARLIAMENT (646), LEGAL AND JUDICIAL PERSONNEL (693), and RELIGIOUS DENOMINATIONS (795)

ARBAB - landlord - use STATUS, ROLE, AND PRESTIGE (554)

Caliphs - use PROPHETS AND ASCETICS (792)

Camps - use COMMUNITY STRUCTURE (621)

COUNCIL OF GUARDIANS - a group of senior Islamic jurists and other experts in Islamic law who are empowered by the Constitution to veto or demand revision of any legislation it considers in violation of Islam or the Constitution - use LEGAL AND JUDICIAL PERSONNEL (693)

Crusade for Reconstruction - use ECONOMIC PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT (179)

DARVISH - Sufi saint - use PROPHETS AND ASCETICS (792)

DEHESTAN - township - use TOWNS (632)

DOWREH - circle of intimate friends - use FRIENDSHIPS (572), and SODALITIES (575)

EHSHAMS - residential groups or camps - use COMMUNITY STRUCTURE (621)

FAQIH - chief jurisprudent or judge - use LEGAL AND JUDICIAL PERSONNEL (693)

FAZL - cash gifts, usually at weddings - use GIFT GIVING (431)

FOUNDATION FOR THE DISINHERITED - use PUBLIC ASSISTANCE (746)

GARMSIR - winter quarters for a nomadic group - use SETTLEMENT PATTERNS (361)

HAJI FIRUZ - a comic character and harbinger of New Years - use HUMOR (522), and REST DAYS AND HOLIDAYS (527)

HAKIM - traditional physician - use MEDICAL PERSONNEL (759)

KADKHUDA - clan heads - use SIBS (614), and COMMUNITY HEADS (622)

KALANTAR -head of subtribe, composed of several clans - use SIBS (614), and COMMUNITY HEADS (622)

KASKHODA (KATKHODA) - a village official or appointed headman and landowner's representative - use COMMUNITY HEADS (622)

KAVIR - low basin - use TOPOGRAPHY AND GEOLOGY (133)

KHOMEINI - as a religious leader, use PRIESTHOOD (793); as head of the Iranian State, use CHIEF EXECUTIVE (643)

KOMAK - mutual assistance - use MUTUAL AID (476)

KOMITEH - urban revolutionary committee - use CITIES (633),POLITICAL MOVEMENTS (668), and REVOLUTION (669)

LUTI - neighborhood strongman - use STATUS, ROLE, AND PRESTIGE (554)

MADRASEH - religious college or seminary that train men in Islamic jurisprudence - use VOCATIONAL EDUCATION (874)

MAHRIYEH - a stipulated sum that a groom gives to his new bride - use MODE OF MARRIAGE (583)

MAJLIS - the Iranian parliament - use PARLIAMENT (646)

MAKTAB - primary school run by clergy - use ELEMENTARY EDUCATION (872)

MOJAHEDIN - armed leftist political movement - use POLITICAL MOVEMENTS (668) and REVOLUTION (669)

MUTA - a special form of temporary marriage - use SPECIAL UNIONS AND MARRIAGES (588)

NAZRI - sacrifices - use PRAYERS AND SACRIFICES (782)

NOW RUZ - New Years - use REST DAYS AND HOLIDAYS (527)

OSTAN - province - use PROVINCES (635)

OULAD - a lineage group - use LINEAGES (613)

PARVANES - government grazing permits - use GOVERNMENT REGULATION (656), and PASTORAL ACTIVITIES (233)

PASDARAN - a military force loyal to the Revolution - use MILITARY ORGANIZATION (701), and REVOLUTION (669)

PETROCHEMICAL INDUSTRY - use CHEMICAL INDUSTRIES (380)

QANAT - man-made underground water channels; reservoirs - use WATER SUPPLY (312)

QOM KHISH - close kin - use KIN RELATIONSHIPS (602)

PASDARAN - militia - use MILITARY ORGANIZATION (701)

REGIONAL COOPERATION FOR DEVELOPMENT (RCD) - use ECONOMIC PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT (179)

REVOLUTIONARY COUNCIL - use REVOLUTION (669)

ROZEH - religious event - use ORGANIZED CEREMONIAL (796)

RU-HOZI - comic improvisatory theater - use HUMOR (522), and DRAMA (536)

SATRAP - a provincial governor in ancient Persia - use PROVINCES (635)

SARHAD - summer quarters for a nomadic group - use SETTLEMENT PATTERNS (361)

SAVAMA - secret police - use POLICE (625)

SHAGERD - physician apprentice - use MEDICAL PERSONNEL (759)

SHARESTAN - county - use DISTRICTS (634)

SHARIK - related households - use HOUSEHOLD (592), FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS (593) and KIN RELATIONSHIPS (602)

TA'ZIYEH - passion drama - use VERBAL ARTS (5310), MUSICAL AND THEATRICAL PRODUCTIONS (545), and THEOLOGICAL SYSTEMS (779)

TAAROF - ritual courtesy - use SOCIOLINGUISTICS (195), STATUS, ROLE, AND PRESTIGE (554), MANIPULATIVE MOBILITY (557), and ETIQUETTE (576)

TAIFE - patronymic group or tribe as a whole - use TRIBE AND NATION (619), and SIBS (614)

TARAF - traditional merchant - use MERCANTILE BUSINESS (441)

ULAMA - Islamic cleric and authority - use PRIESTHOOD (793)

VAAQ - inalienable land - use REAL PROPERTY (423)

WAQF(VAQF) - a religious endowment - use CONGREGATIONS (794)

ZERANGI - cleverness - use PERSONALITY TRAITS (157), and MANIPULATIVE MOBILITY (557)

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