Frontier nomads of Iran: a political and social history of - download pdf or read online

By Richard Tapper

According to 3 many years of ethnographic fieldwork and documentary learn, this e-book strains the political and social background of the Shahsevan, one of many significant nomadic peoples of Iran. it's a dramatic tale, recounting the legendary origins of the tribes, their unification as a confederacy and their eventual decline. In its synthesis of anthropology and heritage, the publication will make an incredible contribution to the examine of the center East and principal Asia, and in addition to present debates on tribe-state kinfolk and the connection among identification and background.

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Not content with any of these three usages, many ethnographers (myself included) have defined 'tribe'or used the term without definitionto fit their analysis of a particular society, often attempting to translate a specific indigenous term. Indeed, anthropologists have followed their own varying epistemologies to emphasize widely differing criteria and thus have failed to agree on a general definition of what constitutes a 'tribe'. As with so many wouldbe general or universal concepts, it seems impossible to find an analytic terminology that both applies widely enough to be useful for comparison and classification and takes account of indigenous categories.

See also Cohn (1987), Asad (1993). Page 2 events. They often allowed theory and interpretation to remain implicit in the categories used to translate the sources and to suggest causal relations. Now descriptive and analytical categories are more carefully examined; tribal and minority peoples and their histories are more firmly located within the context of the history of states and the world; and there is a growing concern to hear indigenous voices and to allow for the possibility that minorities as well as the state, ordinary people as well as their leaders, women as well as men will have their different pasts.

Political structure and ideology, and usually scale, were discounted, so that 'the tribes of Africa' ranged in size from a few hundred people to millions, and from a scattering of hunter-gatherer bands to complex stratified states. Post-colonial politicians, academics and governments objected to the connotations of 'tribe' and 'tribalism', and adopted more appropriate (but still unsatisfactory) terms such as 'ethnic group', 'people', or 'nation(ality)'. 5 A basic characteristic of such 'tribes' is the pervasiveness of kinship and descent as principles of social and political organization.

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