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Illicit Acts and Sacred Space: Everyday Crime in the Shrine City of Mashhad, 1913-1914

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AbstractThis article explores the connection between individuals, spaces, and daily crime in the shrine city of Mashhad during 1913-4. It challenges the prevailing emphasis on the city’s sacred status by highlighting the frequency and nature of illicit activities often involving urban non-elites. Using the Mashhad police newspaper Ettelā‘āt-e Yawmiya, it reconstructs conflicts between masters and apprentices, soldiers and civilians, tribes and settled populations, artisans, and family members. The article pays attention to the spatial distribution of crime in public and private spaces throughout the city. Finally, it considers the spectrum of crimes falling within the purview of the police including theft, raids, violence, debauchery, drunkenness, public disorder, and gambling.

Affiliations: 1: Ryerson University


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