I’m doing my research paper on the Basseri of Iran, their social organization, beliefs and value as well as their political organization. I will also be identifying their primary way of life, also known as their primary mode of subsistence. The Basseri are a pastoral culture, who herds sheep and goats in the Middle East, specifically Iran. They live in chiefdoms, and are nomadic. The Basseri move from area to area every 3 to 4 days, having a couple people to get the herd while the rest of the tribe packs up the camp and gets ready to move out yet again.
The first thing about the Basseri we will be discussing is their social organization. The Basseri are a nomadic chiefdom, in which a tribe (usually 30-50 families) will set up camp, get their herd(s) to good grazing grass/land nearby, and stay around for 3-4 days before moving on again. The chief of a Basseri tribe and his lineage are separated from the rest of the tribe by the different type of house he lives in compared to everybody else. The chief is also known as the Khan. The Khan and his family live in a large tent or villa in the camp or village, but tend to spend more time in the village, having the other tribe members tend to their herd. His authority is over three main areas: coordinating tribal migrations and finding pastures, settling disputes, and acting as a representative to outsiders (Nowark and Laird, 2010). Although he does have power, the Khan is not omnipotent rather than the people he leads choose to follow him. If they wish, they can either sell their herds to buy land in the village, thereby preventing the Khan from having power over them, or the tribe can leave behind the current Khan, migrate and follow another one.
Next I’ll be talking about the beliefs and values or the Basseri. While modern day Basseri are Shia Muslims, the older generations of Basseri weren’t necessarily religious, though as far as religion for them was concerned it was more based around luck and the ‘evil eye’...
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Eller, Jack David. Introducing anthropology of religion: culture to the ultimate. New York: Routledge, 2007. Print.
Nowak, Laird (2010), Cultural Anthropology. San Diego, Bridgepoint Education, INC
Religion - Basseri." Countries and Their Cultures. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 June 2013. .
"Shia Islam." findthedata.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 June 2013. .
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