Étrangers endotiques de Téhéran : une ethnographie des dynamiques identitaires des Ġorbat

Abstract : Groups of women and children beg regularly at intersections in the Iranian capital. These individuals are commonly despised and referred to as Kowli (Bohemian Gypsy), while they are part of an ethnic group and a linguistic community, completely ignored by the Iranians and scholars. This study introduces for the first time an ethnographic research of this "peripatetic" group named, Gorbat, meaning: the foreign country, the exile. What are the origins of this ethnonym ?How this group have come to take this name? How does he survive culturally? How does he keep its borders with the global society and other minorities? This study focuses on one of the agglomeration of this ethnic group, originally from the city of Babol in northern Iran. It offers a gateway to the world view of Gorbat of Babol, through the study of a relevant step in the life of every young Babolian Gorbat.This step consists of begging (aduri) practiced daily by all children, at the crossroads of Tehran, under the supervision of at least one of the women of their lineage. This practice therefore reveals certain kinship relations and highlights in particular the structure of the patrilineal lineage in the Gorbat community. It also reveals the importance of this structure in the embedded identity of the individual. The practice of aduri is described according to the concept of Clifford Geertz; "Thick descriptions". Each stratum of meaning leading to the production, perception and interpretation of significant behaviour (here aduri) is described and analysed. This meticulous analysis opens our vision to a dramatic view of begging, in the sense that Victor Turner employs this paradigm in "anthropology of performance". Begging is performed as a rite and produces a drama through which the cultural framework and symbols engaged become visible in the social interaction between the Gorbat and the non-gorbat. This phenomenon emerges as a central event in the social life of the Gorbat and the construction of the collective identity of the individual. It is therefore impossible to observe the Gorbat society in isolation.The other (non-gorbat) is constantly present. As sociological paradigm, and following the theory of "ethnic boundaries" by Fredrik Barth, this study suggests to observe the Gorbat society through its relations with the non-gorbat. However, these relations are not only based on economy nor on politics but on cultural features.The identity and otherness are defined through social interactions of everyday life, by oscillation between two moral frameworks and two value systems. It is through this back-and-forth between two spheres of construction and deconstruction of meaning that the definition of self and of the other emerges. This is at this intermediate level between the two spheres that it becomes possible to observe the points of divergence, but also the spheres where the Gorbat is unified with the global society.
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Mitra Asfari. Étrangers endotiques de Téhéran : une ethnographie des dynamiques identitaires des Ġorbat. Anthropologie sociale et ethnologie. Université Sorbonne Paris Cité, 2015. Français. ⟨NNT : 2015USPCB175⟩. ⟨tel-01617200⟩

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