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Chapter Summary

This is the introductory chapter of this book, which is a study of gender and ritual at a particular juncture in the history of contemporary Iran. The study is based on anthropological fieldwork conducted between 1992 and 1993 among circles of devout women and men in the lower middle class quarters of south Tehran, a social stratum that makes up a large proportion of the city's population. In particular, this study assesses how the categories of male and female are produced and understood. To do this, it is necessary to first disclose the assumptions underlying the author's use of the analytical constructs 'gender' and 'ritual'. The reflexive turn in anthropology makes it clear that analysis is not neutral, but a trope for the representation of knowledge". Even ethnographic 'description' is not free from theory and the fuzzy boundary between theory and data needs to be acknowledged.

Keywords: contemporary Iran; gender identity; ritual practices; south Tehran



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