Nomad: A Year In the Life of a Qashqa'i Tribesman in Iran

Nomad: A Year In the Life of a Qashqa'i Tribesman in Iran

by Lois Beck
     
 

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Borzu Qermezi was the headman and political leader of a group of nomadic pastoralists who were part of the Qashqa'i confederacy of southwest Iran. Proud, complex, strong-willed, witty, and cunning, Borzu successfully led his people on their annual migrations for many years. He regulated their travel; mediated conflicts; intervened in (and sometimes exacerbated)

Overview

Borzu Qermezi was the headman and political leader of a group of nomadic pastoralists who were part of the Qashqa'i confederacy of southwest Iran. Proud, complex, strong-willed, witty, and cunning, Borzu successfully led his people on their annual migrations for many years. He regulated their travel; mediated conflicts; intervened in (and sometimes exacerbated) tense situations between his people and other nomads; and dealt with the government police agency. Structuring the account around the four seasons, Lois Beck recounts the day-to-day activities of Borzu during the year she spent traveling with his people. She describes the rigors of nomadic life and the consequences of decisions made in haste. During 1970 to 1971, Borzu and his people were faced with many difficulties. When the expected winter rains did not fall, pastures and crops shriveled. Unable to sell their starving livestock for any profit, Borzu's people saw their debts to urban merchants and moneylers increase. At the same time, Iran exercised more bureaucratic control over the Qashqa'i by applying new policies over migratory schedules and the allocation of scarce pastures, and by introducing non-Qashqa'i agriculturalists and livestock investors as legitimate land users. All these measures threatened the nomad's way of life and eventually undermined the role of headmen such as Borzu. Lois Beck details the vicissitudes ured by Borzu's people and the strategies he devised to cope with them. Bling ethnographic and historical material, this book contains information unavailable for other tribal and nomadic pastoral groups in the Middle East and central Asia. Through Beck's deft analysis, we come to understand whynomadicpastoralism was once an important part of this vast region, and why tribal society has ured.

Author Biography: Lois Beck is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Washington University and the author of The Qashqa'i of Iran (Yale 1986).

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780520074958
Publisher:
University of California Press
Publication date:
12/19/1991
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
504
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.12(d)

Meet the Author

Lois Beck is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Washington University and the author of The Qashqa'i of Iran (Yale 1986).

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