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Rites of masculinity

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Chapter Summary

Two years following the establishment of the Islamic Republic in 1979, a new ritual emerged specifically to mark the coming of age of girls at the age of nine. In Shiʿa Islam, the religious duties of girls and boys become incumbent on them when they are deemed mentally mature, as with Catholics who call this moment the 'age of reason'. This chapter addresses the questions: why has the girls' ceremony been more successful and popular than that of the boys'? what are the principal concerns of all the parties involved? and what is the relation of these ceremonies to the new religious order and the state? It presents a description of two ceremonies held for girls in homes, one in south of the city and the other in the wealthier north. Marilyn Strathern challenges the anthropological theory that underpins the idea of 'role acquisition' or 'socialisation' through such rituals.

Keywords: anthropological theory; girls initiation ritual; Islamic Republic; Marilyn Strathern; role acquisition; socialisation



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