Anthropological study on cultural background of a certain ancient tribe or group of people, like the tribe of Basseri of Iran, opens the way to understanding their ethnicity through analyzing the impact of their mode of subsistence on some of the aspects of their cultural way of life. …
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This is the purpose of this thesis. This analysis also enhance familiarity on how the environment greatly influenced the cultural behavior of a group of people, and how the people in turn adjust their way of life according to what the environment dictates for them. But even some environmental factors will tend to influence people’s way of life, more often, the inherent virtues and molded values are predominantly influencing the decisions of some individuals or even a group of people as a whole. Therefore, through anthropological study of the impact of mode of subsistence of Basseri tribe in their cultural way of life, we will acquire full discernment on how and why mode of subsistence largely effect people’s behavior and way of living.
Cultural Anthropology of Basseri Tribe of Iran
Curiosity on ethnographic significance of Basseri tribe, a tribal group of pastoral nomads of Iran’s past cultural civilization, opens a way to discernment of the interesting relationship of a society’s mode of subsistence to its unique cultural features which contributes largely on anthropological study.
The Basseri are known to be as traditional pastoralists. Pastoralists is defined as people whose livelihood largely rests on raising domestic animals such as sheep, goats, cattle, horses, and donkeys for milk, meat, wool production and even for transport use (Ikeya & Fratkin, 2005). As nomads, they are a wandering people who led a pastoral life while dwelling in tents as they migrated customarily in a strip of land which measures approximately 300 miles long and 20-50 miles wide in the parched prairies and mountains south, east and north of Shiraz in Fars province of South Persia. Thereby, the Basseri tribe is one among the delineated groups in Fars province of South Persia, now known as Iran, and considered as a unit for administrative purposes by the Iranian authorities. This tribe speaks the Persian dialect that is very close to the urban Persian of Shiraz town. They are more defined in political terms rather than in ethnicity nor in geographical criteria. However, in our recent years, Basseri lost most of its political and social meaning as its population started to decline depending on the changes on fate of its political leaders and probably on the circumstances of nomadism in South Persia (Barth, 1961). But then, as pastoral nomads, their primary mode of subsistence has important connections in their kinship, economic, social and political organization, and in their religious beliefs. Awareness in such relations contributes understanding on some cultural backgrounds and enhances understanding on anthropological knowledge of the past. Kinship The tribal kinship pattern of Basseri is ‘patrilineal’ wherein descent is traced through the male line. The son of a Basseri, even though his mother is from another ethnic tribe or village, is considered to be a Basseri. While a Basseri woman cannot transmits her rights in the tribe to her offspring if she marries outside the tribe. But although patrilineal in pattern, the matrilateral and affinal relations were regarded as contributors of solidarity and kinship, a strong bond between mother and child that largely influenced the effectiveness in establishing their political bonds between tents. In marriage, the transaction is not limited between the two contracting spouses, but it also includes the whole kin groups that constitute the whole households. The head of the household, which is also the head of the tent, has the authority over the marriage contracts of his household members. A nontribal ritual specialist or holy man issues the marriage cont
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Correspondence concerning this research paper should be addressed to [Student’s First and Last Name], Department..., University of..., [Address] Contact: Abstract This essay deals with the problems of definition of the character of mode of subsistence, kinship practices, social and political organization of the Basseri tribe of South Iran.
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