The Basseri of Iran Cindy L. Robinson ANT 101 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology Professor Sean McCoy I. Who are the Basseri? a. Culture (Nomadic Pastoralists) b. Where they live c. How they live a. Beliefs and Values b. Social Changes II. Kinship a. Patrilineal Emphasis b…
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Political organization beyond the Chief V. Summary The Basseri is a native pastoralist tribe located in Iran. The tribe is pastoralist because they have pastures to graze cattle, sheep and goats and they depend on the animals for food. Everything that the Basseri do is central to the animals that they own. The following pages will discuss the Basseri and their culture and living arrangements, the kinship system, economy, and the pastoral chiefdom that is their leader. In a pastoral culture, all things evolve around the ability to successfully execute economic transactions with the animals that are owned. This goes for marriage as well; however, in the Basseri culture women are controlled and they are forced to cover their faces in public. More about the control of women will be discussed later in this paper. First, the pastoral culture of the Basseri needs to be explained to understand how rest of the culture works fits. a. Culture of Basseri Culture can be defined as everything around us, everything we do, make, think or say. Culture is constantly changing and is influenced by many things. The Basseri are nomadic pastoralist tribe from the Fars region of present-day Iran. They descended from the Arabic, Persian, Turkish and Gypsy ancestors and are involved in rearing sheep, donkeys, horses, camels, dogs and goats. The donkeys are used to carry women and children while men ride in horses. The camels on the other hand, are used to carry heavy loads especially during migration (Salzman et al. 1995). The "tent” or family group is the basic unit of social organization among the Basseri. All tents have a recognized head that deals with the formal officers of the tribe, villagers, and other strangers (Nowak & Laird, 2010). They speak the Farsi dialect. b. Where they live Khanam (2005) gives details of where the Basseri live. The Basseri live in the Iranian province of Fars and migrate along the steppes and mountains near the town of Shiraz. Their population was 16, 000 in the 1950s but more recent estimates have not been widely published. Unlike other tribes, they are defined by political rather than ethnic or geographic criteria due to their livelihood. The area they inhabit of 18, 000 to 21, 000 square kilometers spans a large ecological range. There are deserts in the south, mountains in the North. The mountain precipitation provides support for vegetation while the southern lowland runoff and summer droughts limit vegetation to hardy desert scrubs. In the rainy season of winter, there is temporary grass cover (p. 121). c. How they Live The subsistence mode influences the way people live. As such, the Basseri migrate from place to place in search of pasture during winter and settle during summer. According to Nowak and Laird (2010), they move every three to four days with their animals and during this time, tents become their dwellings. Small tents are established for nuclear family at this time but while they settle for a longer time during summer, larger tents are utilized. During the summer period, the Basseri are involved in some farming especially the growing of wheat. This involvement in agriculture can be seen as abandoning their culture of pastoralism. However, it is only carried out during summer along the tribal route before the Basseri migrate to other areas (Marx, 1977).The reason why Basseri migrate is due to depletion of natural resources for the animals to eat. They therefore, have to move to other places to look for food for the animals. Culture also
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“Cultural Research Paper Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 1750 Words”, n.d. https://studentshare.org/anthropology/1457059-cultural-research-paper.
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