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Change and the Iranian Family Author(s): Vida Nassehi-Behnam Reviewed work(s): Source: Current Anthropology, Vol.

26, No. 5 (Dec., 1985), pp. 557-562 Published by: The University of Chicago Press on behalf of Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2743073 . Accessed: 20/12/2011 05:00
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Change and the Iranian Family


byVida Nassehi-Behnam

He specifies thatthewoman'sconsent themarriage essento is tial unless she is a virgin,in which case it is the fatheror grandfather who makes the decision. According Naslre od-Din Tusl, themale is themaster to and head of the household:"the right wifeis the man's partner in material well-beingand his replacementin managing the household in his absence, and the best of all wives is one endowedwithpatience,faith,chastity, compassion, modesty, " and obedience. The wife'sdutytowardsherhusbandconsists of "protectingher chastity,competently carryingout her duties,controlling anger,being diligent protecting her in the honour of the group, and being competent sexual interin " course. Ghaz&ll considersthat the wife should have the following THE TRADITIONAL FAMILY qualities:chastity, temperance, beauty,a modestdowry, fertility,virginity, respectable a ancestry, and a distant blood relaThe term"family" (khanevadeh) does not appear in the tradi- tionship, since it is said thatmarriageamongstkin makes for tionalliterature to pertaining thissubject,butdefinitions the of feeble offspring and that passion between close relativesis "domesticgroup" may be found in a great many books on weak. The husband should have three qualities: stature, ethics.The 13th-century ethicsofNaslr-eod-Din Tfusl outlines generosity, peace of mind. and thestructure thefamily thefunctions itsmembers a of and of in The rightsof parentsand childrenare discussed in great chapterentitled "Managementof the Household." The 12th- detail. The fathermust ensurethe educationof his children century poet and philosopher Ghaz&ll,in his Alchemy Hapof and instruct themaccordingto the preceptsof the faith.He piness, describesthe rightsof familymembersvis-a-visone mustteach themhow to speak and eat and to tell the truth, anotherand the statusand role of each member relation in to give thema knowledgeof the sciencesas well as the artsand the family a whole. as professions, and instruct girlsin householdmanagement, the Naslr-eod-Din Tfusl describes raisond'etreofthefamily chastity, the dignity, and prudence. Childrenmust demonstrate in wholly materialistic terms:"Since man requires food to consideration and respectfortheirparentsin word and deed; satisfy needs and since a certaindegreeof management his is theymustbe sympathetic, obliging,modest,and reservedin required to procure food. . . . On this account cooperation is theirspeech. "The father claimsspiritual supremacy and conneeded, and hence the necessityfor a household." He consequentlyhis children'sobedience once theyreach maturity. tinues:"The termhouseholddoes not refer a house builtof to Mothersdemand a relationship a morephysicalnature,for of bricks,mud, stone,or wood; it means a specific cooperation childrenexperiencethis relationship frombirthand have an betweena man and a woman, parentsand children, master inclination towardsit." and servants,a house and a particularwealth, whetherthe The traditional in family Iran is an autonomous unitof prohouse is built of wood or stone and whether is a tentor a it ductionand consumption, in patrilineal and patriarchal nature villa." The man is the founder the householdand responsi- and based on male supremacy. of The traditional culture family ble forits existence: rigorously preservesits belief in the hierarchy, unity,and Thesurvival thespecies of requires union that so there beprocrea- cohesivenessof the domesticgroup. The eldest male of the will (grandfather, father, eldestson, uncle)is considered the tion. Divine wisdom ordained every has that manhavea wife look family to and expectsto be obeyed.Apartfrom after house allitscontents tofulfill function procrea- master the and and the of sex,thehierarchy tion .... [and] to look after offspring the once thesuccessionhas been is builtupon the respectdue to age and experience. Marriage assured. . . . When the size of the familyincreases,the need for concerns onlytwo individualsbut two lineages.It playsa not servants becomes to apparent.... According this argument,is clear pivotalrole in the maintenance the social system, it of based on thatthe household of consists fivebasic elements: father, mother, thekinship network, and therefore community the mustmainand child, servants, subsistence. tain control over such an important transaction. Thus the arof the is Ghaz&llenumerates advantagesof marriageas follows: rangement a marriage accompaniedbygreatdeliberations the amongst "procreation, satisfaction passion,intimacy of family members and lengthy witha wife, preparations thatsometimesbegin at the timeof the birthof the personsconcerned. whichleads to the anticipation of and management the needs include such customsas the shar-baha of the householdso that the man may be relievedof distur- These preparations or bances in his path to knowledge,action,and contemplation." bride-price (literally "priceof milk")and the dowry.The uniTHE IRANIAN FAMILY HAS EVOLVED over the centuries in its

own way. Based on Shi'ite Islamic law, it has managed to preserve pre-Islamic traditions and the influence the Turkof ish and Mongol kinshipsystems. discussing evolution, In its I shall begin by defining the traditionalfamily,a numberof whose characteristics have been preserved to the present, up of partly through brief a look at thetreatment thesubjectin the to ancientPersianethicalliterature. Then I shall attempt assess the impact of modernization the family,. on discuss the importance the kinshipnetwork of and the changesthathave takenplace within and offer typology theIranianfamily of it, a today.

Vol. 26 * No. 5 * December1985

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versality marriage firmly of is entrenched, earlymarriage and is common.Endogamy,especiallymarriage betweenblood relations,is frequent despiteGhazali's warnings.Polygamy a is sign of wealth. Women who accept the status of concubine comefrom lowersocial classesand aspire the (sagheh) generally by thismeans to economicgain and social mobility. They are not of generally considered members thekinshipnetwork, but their is of children are. A highbirthrate theresult fearofinfant mortality, need forsecurity old age, fearof beingalone, the in the prestigeof fertility, the productiverole of children. and Boys are wantedmorethangirlsand are better-cared-for, better-fed, better-dressed. and Girlsare moredifficult bring to up because theyhave to be constantly to their supervised protect virginity. Boys remainwithin their and ensuretheconfamily tinuity the lineage, while girlsleave to increasetheirhusof bands' lineages. The wife's status withinthe familyis determined her by in fertility, whichthe family groupshows a keen interest. She is notaccepteduntilshe has givenbirth a child.The man,as to for incomeand undisputed master,is responsible the family's expenditures. surname. Childrenare giventheirfather's The concept of woman is analogous to that of honour (naimus). This is whya woman,even ifshe is notmarried is or widowed or divorced,is neverleftunprotected. The veil in a senseconstitutes protection her againsttheoutsideworld.Any for honouris severely disrespect the customsconcerning punished. The reciprocal relationship betweenhusbandand wife, is betweenparentsand children, and betweenrelatives based on a setofmoralrulesand codes ofconduct.The wifeis always under her husband's tutelage;in his absence the eldest son assumestheseresponsibilities. Fromchildhood members of the each sex are initiatedinto theirroles and duties: the boy is taughtto protectand to command, the girl to obey, to be and to become a good mother. beautiful, The moredetailedcharacteristics theIranianfamily of vary Formsof withtheway oflifebased on themodeofproduction. residence,forexample,vary with socioeconomic status. The urbanfamily's house is dividedintotwo areas, public wealthy and the (barufni) private(andaruina), man's and thewife's.Male membersof the familyare allowed into the latter,but the women have no access to the former, which is the threshold betweenthe intimacy the interior of and the outsideworld. This typeof family the onlyone thatcan be called an "exis tended family."It is normallymade up of the head of the his his sonswith family, wife,his unmarried children, married brothers theirwives and children, and his unmarried and sisters.The middleand lower classes have always lived in conthe jugal units,fortheycannotafford luxuryof an extended roomsarounda These families family. maylive in smallrented thuscreating semblanceof an extended courtyard, the family, buteach unitfunctions a separatebudgetary on basis and there is no dominant person. In rural areas and among nomads, family structure also is based on the conjugal unit. Although thesefamilies live sepain rately small housesor in tents, theyare underthecontrol of the kinshipnetwork.The wife'srole in production gives her morefreedom movement, of and segregation notas strict is as thatwhichburdensurban women. The traditionalfamily'sfunctions cover all aspects of its members'lives. The most importantof these aspects are procreation, education of children,food production, the the buildingof homes,the use of leisuretime,healthand medical care, and theprotection defense thewholefamily, and of individuallyand collectively. The kinshipgroup(tatyefeh)"a complexoflineagesjoined is byblood or marriage and closely linkedbyeconomic and sentimentalrelationships, controlled the oldest male member, by who acts as head" (Behnam 1976). In traditional society, the individualbelongsfirst his familyand, through to his to it, tayefeh. His status in societyis definedby this relationship.
558

and The members the kin group are underits supervision of this thatensuefrom privileges benefit from socioeconomic the situation. THE IMPACT OF MODERNIZATION ON THE FAMILY Iranian societyhas undergoneproDuring the past century and foundchanges,political,socioeconomic, cultural.The oribut ginsof thesechangescan be tracedto the 19thcentury, it that of was onlyat thebeginning the20thcentury signsofthem appeared in the formof the propagationof new ideas and After1925, a numberof related soconstitutional reforms. cioeconomicphenomenabegan to emergein Iran: industrireform, urbanization, alization,juridical and administrative of democratization secularization education,and introducand of are tionofmass media ofcommunication onlythehighlights a profoundtransformation the mental and sociocultural of of of structure the society the time.The appearanceof educaand behaviour tionalinstitutions to generate was new concepts within family the unitonce theold ones had been rejected.The opportunity obtaina broadereducationopened theway for to typesof marriage. affected social mobility, whichparticularly in The civil code adopted by the Majlis (Parliament) 1925 on based entirely thesharia. containeda sectionon thefamily When thelattercould no longermeetthe needs of a changing referred as theFamilyProtection to society, setofregulations a in violating sharia,it the Law was promulgated 1967. Without an to granted womenthe right divorceby inserting "irrevocain of ble clause" to thiseffect Article17 of the contract marhis riage. Further, man could no longerrepudiate wifewitha out her consent (with certain exceptions that the court and of was also restricted, child decided). The right polygamy custodywas awarded to wives undercertaincircumstances. to The wife'sright acquirean educationand to workwithout to her husband's consent(if this was not inappropriate the factor another important husband'ssocial position) constituted in the evolutionof family norms. shortperiodof time,a new set of Thus, withina relatively tensionshas appeared in Iranian society.On the one hand, on traditional values, beliefs,and customshave persisted; the otherhand, new culturalmodelshave arisenthatexpressthe Culturaland social changes aspirationsof a new generation. sectors are interdependent, their but variesin different rhythm have remainedunof social life. Certain social institutions have been so only changed,and thosethathave been modified in part. The institution the familyis no exception.It has of a been exposedto changebut at thesame timehas maintained highdegreeof continuity. THE CHOICE OF A SPOUSE In spite of the evolutionof Iranian society,the choice of a Marspouse is stillsupervisedand oftenmade by the family. and riage withinone's own social class (hampaileki), particuis of Endogalarlywitha member thefamily, stillimportant. remains mousmarriage (withparallelcousinsor cross-cousins) in a commonpractice;25% ofmarriages Tehran,36% in rural regions, and 51% among nomads are endogamous(Khazaneh the 1968). In urbanareas, wherethewife'spowerwithin famis marriagebetweenmaternalcross-cousins ily is increasing, becomingmore and more frequent;53.8% of marriagesin Tehran are between maternalcross-cousins, comparedwith whereas 46.2% betweenpaternalparallel and cross-cousins, the percentagesare reversed among the rural population, 38.5% and 61.5%. abilityand the Nevertheless, urban areas, professional in democratization education allow social mobilitythrough of By marriage based on theexchangeofprivileges. meansofhis
CURRENT ANTHROPOLOGY

personalabilities, man can marry girl"ofgood family" a a and consequentlyenter an influentialkinship group that will The permission guarantee future his and increasehis prestige. ofthekin groupand in particular thatoftheparents stillan is important factor thestability a marriage, parents in for of often refuseto supporta union that has been disapprovedof from the start.
ROLE AND STATUS

Behnam et al.:

THE MUSLIM

FAMILY

The economy industrial of society in conflict is withthedomestic economicmodel. Family members have to separate.New couplesleave theirparentsand createtheirown families. is It increasingly difficult supervisethe kinshipgroup. Absorpto tion into different social groupstends to reduce the family's obligations and affects unity. its The woman's work outside the home and her role as an earnerof income have affected maritalrelationship the and alteredthe responsibilities both sexes. Amongmiddle-class of families, wife'seconomicactivity the resultof inflation the is and theemergence a consumer of and oftheopportunisociety tiesafforded higher by education.The results a survey of carriedout in Tehran on the attitudes mothers of towardswomen's workingshowed that 25% were completely against it, 20.5% said thata woman's dutywas to look afterher home, and 57% replied that a woman should work only if her financialsituationforced her to do so (Saroukhanl 1977). Whatever her reasons, the active woman's new status influences sex-related the rolesof theindividualwithin famthe ily.Thus, householddutiesare reduced,as are dutiesconcerning the care and socializationof the children, whilethe wife's rolein decisionmaking,administrative tasks,and themanagementof thefamily budgetincreases.In lower-class in families urbanareas, thewifehas alwayshad to workwhilestilltaking care ofthehousework, thisin no way affects husband's but the superior position. Educationhas becomethesourceof an important changein the socialization children of and has had repercussions the on parent-child the for relationship. Before, rationale parental authority in the passing on to the next generation the lay of parent's of knowledge life.Children today(at least thoseofthe lowerclasses)no longerhave thisneed,and therolesare sometimesreversed, thatis, it is thechildwho passes on his knowledge to his parents(Nassehl 1975). Mead (1970) argues that this role reversalcan give rise to tensionin the socialization process. In theruraland tribalregions, womenplayan indispensable role in the economiclifeof the community. to According the 1966 census, 22.3% of the femalepopulationparticipated in agricultural and thispercentage rose to 68% in the activities, northern regionsof Iran (Guilan, Mazandaran, Gorgan) in whichriceis the main crop. In additionto agricultural work, womenare responsible makingbread, milking for cows, making yoghurt and butter,and weaving carpets(Afshar-Naderi 1968). This phenomenon of such importance is thatpolygamy may be employed wealthyfamilies offset shortage by to the of human resources (Resterepo-Afshar 1975). In rural areas where carpet weaving (a female occupation)is the family's main financial resource, men, aware of the importance this of wives' neglect thehousehold.Thus, many task,accepttheir of household tasks,together withthetask ofsupervising chilthe dren,thatare traditionally wife'sresponsibility passed the are on to otherfamilymembersor sometimes performed the by husbandsthemselves (Thheril 1975). But in theseregions, the man, even if he is dependenton his wife's productiverole, always remainsthe patriarch.He handlesthe sale of the carpetsand overseesthefamily's production. is he who spends It theincomeand, ifhe wishes,buysgifts his wifeto encourfor age her. According a studyon the northern to regionof Iran, whererice cultivation (women'swork) is frequent, wives reVol. 26 *No. 5 *December 1985

ceive gifts, from their husbandsat harvest especially jewellery, time(Zand 1980). Indeed, in a traditional society such as thatofIran thestatuses of family members not always depend on theirroles, do a and a change in role is not necessarily source of conflict withinthefamily. of members so firmly are The rights family rootedin the structure the society of thatone cannotenvisage an attackon them.The new husband-wife-child triad,withits horizontal is relationships, progressively the replacing old verticalfamily but of relationships, thesupremacy themale is still apparent. The fatherstill ensuresmaterialsurvival and remainsthesymbol powerin thefamily; mother, of the responsible forthe housework, the symbolof love (Saroukhanland is Kotobi 1974).
FAMILY DISINTEGRATION

Familydisintegration-a"rupture family of or unity a breakin thestructure social roleswhenone or severalmembers the of of failsto fulfill roleas is proper" his family (see Goode 1964)-in Iran is associatedwiththe male mobility createdby economic in development and by divorce. Family disintegration rural areas is mainly due to the migration men to the urban of in centres searchofwork.Although divorcehas always been a elementin the Islamic social structure potentialinstitutional and althoughthe Iranian civil code, inspiredby Islamic law, gives the man the unilateralrightof divorce,dissolution of marriage nevertheless is rare in Iranian ruraland tribalcommunities. Monographicstudiescarriedout between1967 and 1973 in Iranian villages' note only two cases of divorce,one due to thewife'ssterility theotherto thehusband'smental and illness.The villagers' responses about divorcewerepractically alwaysthesame: "Here, nobodyasks fora divorceand nobody wants to grantone. After the divorcedwoman has hardly all, In the any chance of remarrying!" theIranian nomadictribes, economicsituation identical.Divorce is nonexistent very is or rare,and even thewife'ssterility compensated by polygis for amy.The wifestaysin thefamily because oftheindispensable role she plays in the economyof family life. The reasonsdivorceis so rare,in spiteoftheease withwhichmenmayobtain one, are to be soughtin the economiclifeof theserural and tribalsocieties. In the"procreative" family, wifeis at once a producer the of goods and services and the life-giving element. These two functions important onlyfromthe husband'spointof are not view and forthe survivalof the familyunit but also forthe preservation the entirekinshipgroup. Consequently, of the kinshipgroupnot onlysupervises entrance, the through marriage,ofa new member intoitsmidstbutalso is affected the by loss of a usefulelementin the event of a divorce. For these reasonsrules and traditions exist to preventthe couple from Proverbssuch as "One should enterthe husband's divorcing. in family whiteand leave it in white"2 a good illustration are of this attitudeand can be interpreted the lightof it. These in traditions strongly are preserved the amongst people,and even whenthereligious laws authorize divorceitis customary to not resort it. Thus we can establisha relationship to betweenthe absence offamily in disintegration theseregions, theresisand tance of traditional values to economicchanges. In the urban centres situation different. the is According to thepopulationcensusconductedin 1965by theIranianStatis1 Studies of Bagher-Abad, Mirghaleh, Ebrahim-Abad, Deheno, Soheyl-Abad,Hassan-Lengeh, Hadj-Abad, Kamroud, Jokhah,Abrud, and Samarghavehcarriedout by the researchgroupof the rural section theInstitute Social Studiesand ResearchoftheUniversity of of of Tehran. 2 In Islamic burial the body is wrapped in a whiteshroud.

559

tics Centre,thereare threetimesas manydivorcesin urban areas as in ruralones. On the whole, thereare farfewerdivorcedmen than women in both urban and ruralareas, and the numberof divorcedmen who have not remarried more is or less the same in rural areas as in urban ones. There is a in difference the divorcerate betweenlarge and small towns. For example,the divorceratein Tehran is 1.92%, whereasin Iran's secondcityit is 1.7%. The divorcerateformenis 0.5% in Tehran and 0.3% in Iran's second city. There is also a considerable difference amongthedifferent social stratain the urban centres.In Tehran divorceis directly relatedto family income and to the familyhead's level of education(Nassehf 1978). The factors responsible the"high"divorceratein Iranian for citiescan be summarized follows: as 1. There are very good employmentopportunities for womennotonlyin such women'sjobs as teaching and medical assistantship also in the industrial but and servicesectors.A brief surveyof the 1967 censusshowssignificant participation ofdivorcedwomenin thelabour market Tehran. There are in eighttimesas manyof themas married women,fourtimesas manyas singlewomen,and two-and-a-half timesas manyas widows (Plan Organization1968). 2. New laws have been promulgated and regulations modified attract femaleworkforce thesectors proto the to of ductionthatprovidewomen an opportunity improvetheir to social and economicstatus. 3. The breakingof a civil and religiouscontractsuch as marriage better is in tolerated urbansociety, and therefore the divorcedwomanis seen as less ofa deviant.Although may she suffer from loneliness and rejection society, continues she to by have the opportunity live in an independent to way in the cities. Thus we are witnessing of the development a whole social groupwith negativeconnotations thatis endeavouring to live as if thismade no difference. Between1977and 1980I directed studyon thesituation of a of divorcedwomenin Tehran underthe aegis of the Institute Social Studiesand Researchof theUniversity Tehran. The of resultsof thisstudyshow that in 70% of the cases the wives had requesteda divorcewithoutalimonyand givenup their mahr(dowry) exchangeforcustody their in of children.3 Howof ever, two-thirds these acknowledgedthat theirhusbands had forcedthemto do so. When we comparethe statusof a woman whilemarried the areas of education,employment, in and income with her status once divorced,it is clear that a considerable in modification her economicstatusmay be considereda significant of factorin the development her attitude towardsdivorce.While theywere married,78% of thosesurveyed had been housewives,but only 41% were still housewives at the timeof the survey.These latterwere either very wealthywomenor womenwho had morethan threechildren and neither educationnor sufficient to specializedtraining allow themto earn a living.The 30% ofwomenwho had started to work duringtheirmarriages seem to have been thosewho foresawtheirfutures for and were preparing divorcein this way. In spiteof a certaindegreeof financial and a independence decisive modification roles withinthe family, of the woman (symbolof patience)who divorcesher husband is almostalit ways consideredthe guiltyparty,and consequently is she who suffers from postdivorce the shock. Divorcedwomenbecome sexual targetsand constitute potentialthreatto coua ples, and, in spite of theirfamily's from support,theysuffer loneliness.

STRUCTURE

Socioeconomic changeshave affected family models,particularlyin urbanareas. The housingproblems thecitymilitate of againsttheformation an extendedfamily. of According the to 1966 census,only4.4% of urbanhouseholdsand only6.5% of ruralones are made up ofextended families (couplewithmarried and unmarried childrenand grandchildren), thereis but stilla significant numberof families withadditionalmembers (couple + child + father mother thecouple + unmarried or of brother sister). or The appearanceofbrokennuclearfamilies is a new phenomenon, largely consequenceofruralmigration the to citiesin search of work. Divorce and the generation gap, whichencourages youngpeopleto live apartfrom their parents once theycan look after their own financial needs,are new but not verywidespreaddevelopments Iranian urban society. in For the ruralpopulationthe transformation the agriculof turalsystem been themain sourceofchangein thefamily. has Intensive migration, specialization youngpeople in new the of branchesof industry, and the proletarianization peasants of have all contributed modifications the family.The crein to ationof new job categories led singlemenand thenheads has of families move to ruralareas at the same timeas thenew to of is generation villagers moving thecitiesin searchofwork. to The latter, leaving their families behind, create broken familiesthatare leftin the custodyof the kinshipgroupand subject to its authority. The banningof child labour and the requirement schoolattendance of have changedthereasonsfor havingchildren; longera short-term no production potential, childrenhave become a burden. But in spite of this and the efforts family of to planning organizations reducethebirthrate, therehas been littlechange in familysize. The birthrate has remainedhigh except among acculturated familiesin certain urban areas. During my surveysin the southernquartersof Tehran, I asked women how many childrenpeople should have, and theiranswers were in the neighbourhood two or three. of WhenI asked themhow manychildren theyhad, the number varied betweenfourand ten. Laws and regulations and propaganda had changedtheirattitudes but not theirbehaviour. Here we see a failedattempt rationalism; at thesewomenwant to have fewer children cannotor do notwantto at thesame but time. TYPOLOGY OF THE IRANIAN FAMILY The Iranianfamily not,then,been subjectto theevolution has of the extendedfamily towardsthe nuclearfamily envisioned by Western It of sociologists. has had its own form evolution, which is ongoing.The conclusivestudiesthatwould allow a precisetypology theIranianfamily notexist.An attempt of do has been made, however(Behnam 1976), to fillthe gap with the data available. The following a briefsummary the is of results thatstudy of Iraniansociologists. and theviewsofother
THE URBAN FAMILY

3 Men generally have custodyof the boys over threeyearsold and the girlsover seven.

The conjugalfamily makes up 83% of urban householdsand The independent maybe dividedintofourcategories. conjugal moreor less of the Western family, type,is headed by a man with a university educationwho belongsto the rulingsocial classes or practisesa liberalprofession. is financially He indeto and free choosehis own spouse,withwhomhe lives pendent on a moreor less equal footing. The traditional conjugalfamilyis headed by an ordinary civilservant specializedworker or with a secondary-school is education. This family financially independent remainssociallyattachedto its small family but group. The wifehas oftenbeen chosenby the husband'sparCURRENT ANTHROPOLOGY

560

ents. The husband maintainshis masculinesuperiority. The immigrant conjugal familyis headed by a manual worker, who enjoystotalsupremacy within He is generally illiterate, it. removedfromhis independent because he is geographically withadditionalmembers family group.The conjugalfamily is or and/or made up ofa nuclearfamily plus father mother other of It immediate relatives. is a remnant theold extended-family system, and it may includeany one ofthecategories just mentioned. of The extended familyconsistsprimarily a nuclearfamily with its directdescendants(marriedchildrenand grandchillandowneror a prominent dren).The head is eithera former education.He maintains merchant witha traditional supremand chooses his children's acy withinthe family spouses. lacks a head because ofdeath,divorce, or The brokenfamily repudiation.It is oftenprotectedby the familygroup and supervisedby its members.Occasionallyit may be independent, in which case the woman is its head and its source of income.
THE RURAL FAMILY

Behnam et al.:

THE MIUSLIM FAMILY

In ruralcommunities, families be dividedintotwo categocan ries:thosethatown their land (saheb-natsagh) thosethatdo and not(khosh-neshan). distinction also be made between A can the landowning conjugalfamily,separatefrom but totally dependenton the family group,and the extended family,a productionand consumption unitcomposedof different generations. Landless families(thoseof day labourers,small shopkeepers, teachers,technicians,et al.) are conjugal familiesthat live independently because theyhave no kinshipgroupin the village. The broken familyis also foundin ruralareas, here because of the death or emigration its head. This kind of of is family protected thekinship by groupand effectively belongs to the paternalfamily. In someruralregions (Dezfool,Mazandaran, Fars, and Ashtiane), certain"stemfamilies"stillexist. In theseregionsthe Islamic law on inheritance not applied to agricultural is units. For agriculture be profitable minimumamountof land to a mustbe consolidated; therefore eldestor mostcapable son the inherits the land. He is responsiblefor the family,for his brothers theyreach majority,and forhis sisterstill they till marry (Khosravl 1962).
THE NOMAD FAMILY

is head ofthefamily, main focusof attention thepreservathe tionof thefamily.Sometimes, mainlyamongthe nomads,the of form thelevirate. protection thewidow takestheextreme of In orderto protect divorcedwoman a new marriage witha the for close relative to maybe arranged, anydishonour herwould fall upon all the members the family of group. in A studyon theorigins migrant of workers Tehrandemonthe of network the recruitment on strates influence the family of labour (Vieille and Kotobi 1965); familyties prevail over abilitiesin the choice of people to filljobs. The kinshipnetat work also has an effect the level of investment (Enayat 1974); several industrialcompanies have been established the through cooperationof membersof the same familynetin of relations theacquisition political work.The roleoffamily the power(Zonis 1971) and the rumours concerning existence ofthe"Thousand Families" as a ruling class in Iranian society of (Bill 1972) are also evidenceforthe importance thekinship in system Iran. Research focusingon rural areas (Safi^-Nejad1974) shows thatmostunitsofagricultural production (boneh)are theprodthe at uct of kinshipgroups.After agrarianreform, attempts creatingcooperativeunits were successfulonly throughthe "The kinship of intervention membersof the same tayefeh. role in the grouphas played and stilldoes play an important of maintenance the social balance. In fact,the existence a of facilitates integration horizontal the of vertical 'paraprotection' in solidarity ruralsocieties"(Nikgohar1975). links has its originsin the The maintenance traditional of that might of absence or incompetence formalorganizations in of replacethem.The results a studyofday nurseries Tehran the (Nassehi 1978) show that,forlow-income families, neighbourhood networkhas replaced the kinshipgroup amongst seek help of immigrants ruralorigin.Migrantfemaleworkers in theircircleof neighbours childcare,4medicalcare, and for fromthe housework.We must rememberthat immigrants same province (hamvalayati)generallygather in the same quarterof the city.They forma sortof urban pressure group thatreplacesthe traditional kinshipgroup. CONCLUSION The socioeconomic changesthat have affected institution the of the familyhave broughtabout a gradual but continuous transformation family of structure variesin intensity that with social stratum. the Nevertheless, Iranianfamily preserved has severalaspectsof its traditional functions, mostimportant the of which is its system protection. of of The majority Iranian familiesare conjugal, but theyhave extensive socioeconomic relations withthe kinshipgroup. The tayefeh in persists Iranian villages today, and in the citiesit has onlysuperficially in disappeared.The new generation, spiteof its desireto free itselffromthe tutelageof the family,has submitted the to network kinship thatassuresthemofcareeradvancement. The old kinship networks have been weakened,but new ones have sprungup fromthe middleclass. When an individualattains high social status (through highereducation,etc.), a web of relatives surrounds him and createsa new sociopolitical pressuregroup.In the urbanareas, immigrants thesame origin of and organizea new complexofrelations gather based on common language, culture,and ethnicity. The principalchanges thatcan be observedin thisdomainare thetendency blood for tiesto be replacedbyrelationships createdbymarriage and the fact that the role of the familygroup is unchangedbut its
QA1;A+Q; %- ;,_ I ;ffara_4

Amongthe nomadictribesof BoyerAhmadiand Kohkiluyeh, 87.7% of families nuclear(Afshar-Naderi are 1968). Extended families often are temporary existwherepoverty and prevents nuclear familiesfromacquiring their own quarters,where brothers live together awaiting an inheritance, where early marriage resulted a wife'sbeingunable to carry the has in out productivetasks assigned her, and where a wealthyfamily finds itself shortof femalelabour (Resterepo-Afshar 1978).
THE KINSHIP NETWORK

The kinshipnetwork-the khanedanin thecitiesand the tayefeh in the villages (Behnam 1976)-continues to play a significant as a system protection. role of Marriagesstillunite two familiesand not just two individuals,and this is why marriageswithinkinshipgroups oftenoccur. The resultsof twostudiescarried in Tehran,thecity out thatis bestequipped withgovernment agenciesdealingwiththe family, show that in crisissituationsthe familynetworkis practically only the of system protection upon whichpeople depend (Nassehi and Touba 1980). Death, in particular, has always been a group matterwithelaborate ritesin which all membersof the network are expectedto participate.When the deceased is the Vol.26 *No. 5 *December 1985

4 The public day nurseries accept onlyone childper family.

of I would have liked to end thistreatment changesin the the family withsome discussionof thosefollowing revolution any stateof Iranian societyprevents of 1979, but the present is such attempt.On the whole, the Iranian family characterbeof ized by a poor adjustment values thatleads to conflict tradition and modertweenforcesof change and continuity, was a return changesof 1979there nity.Withthesociopolitical values; the in principles the area of family to Islamic religious laws were repealed,the wearingof the veil family protection for salaried employment women was was made obligatory,

estricted, coeducationalschools were closed, and textbooks of veremodified and Islamicized. The emigration partof the internal mi)opulation(the majority the elite),substantial of of ,ration, and war have greatly increasedthenumber broken amilies,and polygamy been encouragedbecause the war has las leftnumerous widows. The evolution theIranianfamily of there was resistance to villnotend here.Beforetherevolution, and a return to nvadingmodernity, afterthe revolution but radition rulingIranians are incapable of controlling a the )opulationthatresists certaintraditions.

Calendar
1986 of of Spring.Association Social Anthropologists theCommonKent, England. Theme: Migrawealth, 1986 Conference, tion and the Labour Market. Write:J. S. Eades, Darwin Kent CT2 7NX, England. College, The University, March 20-22. Centerfor Great Plains Studies, 10thAnnual Symposium,Lincoln, Nebr. Theme: The Meaning of the Plains Indian Past forPresentPlains Culture. Write:Paul of Olson, CenterforGreat Plains Studies, University NeHall, Lincoln,Nebr. 685881213Oldfather braska-Lincoln, 0314, U.S.A. April 1-4. European SocietyforRural Sociology,13thConin gress,Braga, Portugal.Theme: SurvivalStrategies Rural Manuel V. Cabral, and Change. Write: Society-Continuity de Instituto Ciencias Sociais, EdificioISCTE, Avenida das Forcas Armadas, 1600 Lisboa, Portugal (local arrangements)or Michael Redclift,Wye College, Near Ashford, Kent TN25 5AH, England (program). Symposiumon Art, History,and April 17-19. International in Antiquity RheumaticDiseases, Brussels,Belgium.Topantiqdisorders, evidenceof rheumatic ics: Paleopathologic and allied conditions,rheuuity of rheumatoidarthritis history physicaland of in matic disorders art and history, limitedto 200. Write:Thierry drug therapies.Participants Erasmus FoundaAppelboom,Division of Rheumatology, of tion, Free University Brussels, Route de Lennik, 808, B-1070 Brussels,Belgium. CouncilforCanadian Studies,jointly May 8-10. International withthe FrenchAssociationforCanadian Studies,annual et ethniques Bordeaux, France. Theme: Minorites meeting, Etat. May 22-25. World Congresson Education and Technology, Vancouver,B.C., Canada. Themes: Teaching and Learnand Employment Training;Managementand Technology; and Applications; Speing;The FutureSociety;Innovations Policyand Planning.Write:David cial Needs and Interests; Rivers, CongressDirector,World Congresson Education and Technology, 1155 W. 8th Ave., Vancouver, B.C., Canada V6H 1C5. August18-23. 11thWorldCongressof Sociology, New Delhi, India. Theme: Social Change-Problems and Perspectives. Write:R. Felix Geyer, Executive Secretary, International Sociological Association, Oude Hoogstraat 24, 1012 CE Amsterdam, The Netherlands. August25-29. 5th International Conference Archaeozoolon ogy,Bordeaux,France. Write:PierreDucos, Ve Conference ICAZ, CREP, St. Andrede Cruzieres,France. August-September. InternationalGeographical Union, Regional Conference Mediterranean on Countries, Barcelona, Spain. Write:WaltherManshard, Secretary-General, IGU, Geographisch D-78 Freiburg Institut, Universitat Freiburg, i. Br., Federal Republic of Germany. September.InternationalCouncil of Scientific Unions, 21st General Assembly,Berne, Switzerland.Write: ICSU, 51 boulevardde Montmorency, 75016 Paris, France. September 1-7. International Union of Pre-and Protohistoric Sciences, 11th Congress, Southamptonand London, England. Major themes:Cultural Attitudes toward Animals, Archaeologyand the Very Remote Past, "Objectivity" in ArchaeologicalInterpretation, Interactions between"Central"and "Peripheral" Cultures,Social and EconomicContextsof the Adoptionof SimilarTechnologicalElementsin Different Parts of the World. November. 20thInternational CongressofAdministrative Sciences,Cairo, Egypt.Topic: EconomicChangesand Administrative Reforms. Write:International Institute Adminisof trativeSciences, rue de la Charite 25, B-1040, Brussels, Belgium. December. InternationalEconomic Association,8th World Congress,New Delhi, India. Theme: The Balance between Industry Agriculture EconomicDevelopment. and in Write: IEA, 3, rue Campagne Premiere, 75014 Paris, France. 1987 August10-20. 16thPacificScience Congress,Seoul, Republic of Korea. Theme: New Dimensionsof Science,Manpower, and Resourcesin the Pacific. Write:Tai Whan Shin, NationalAcademyof Sciences, 1 Sejongro,Jongro Gu, Seoul 110, Korea.

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