Childrens Studies

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By Erika Friedl

Within the village of Deh Koh in southwestern Iran, a lifestyles course is set out for women and boys from their earliest days. whereas little in this bad rural neighborhood comes simply to young children of both intercourse, ladies in actual fact undergo the better burden. neighborhood lore has it boy might be famous in his mother's womb as low as 20 days after belief, whereas a lady is still "a formless lump of meat" for 2 months. This skewed viewpoint maintains to form their fortunes in years to stick with. such a lot moms succumb to strain to wean their little one daughters greater than a yr prior to their sons--a calamity in a global the place the breast deals succor and the most important type of sustenance. ladies should be married off once they mature--as early as nine in line with non secular edict--though there are fewer baby brides and baby moms as modernization tinkers with village traditions. on the grounds that 1992, the politics of overpopulation have made contraception a nationwide precedence, a sea swap embraced by means of many married girls worn down via childbearing. "Only husbands and outdated girls wish us to have many children," says a mom of 8, "men simply because they do not know what a hassle it truly is and outdated ladies simply because they've got forgotten." Ethnographer Erika Friedl writes a bit of judgmentally at the hardscrabble lives led in Deh Koh, but in addition with perception, verve, and authority. whereas spotlighting the kids, she illuminates the times in their father and mother and opens the reader's biases for query, too. --Francesca Coltrera

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Additional resources for Children of Deh Koh: Young Life in an Iranian Village

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Children stick to their own small neighborhoods more than did previous generations, to their own compounds, the space outside their own front doors. Their cognitive maps of the place have white, unmapped territories. The pacification of the area after 1965, however, and the subsequent integration of Deh Koh into a web of roads throughout the province has widened everybody's horizon considerably and has increased the area one can easily travel and know about for all, including children. Little Nastaran, at three, has been to the city, by car; in her father's orchard, a one-and-one-half-hour march away, on foot, in midsummer heat; in the next town visiting her mother's relatives, by bus; in the next village, a good mile away, to see the doctor, both on foot and by car.

Over the past twenty-five years, most families in Deh Koh have come to rely on income from sources other than traditional agriculture and transhumant animal husbandry. They rely on salaries from teaching, from administrative and other jobs in government agencies and a bank or two; on wages for labor in construction locally and elsewhere; on income from investments in trucks or shops; on income from tradingseveral food stores, dry-good merchants, and sellers of books and school supplies are competing for patronageor from small businesses like car-repair, welding, television-repair, and carpentry.

Page 1 1 Places Deh Koh, which means Mountainville, is my pseudonym for a large village in the high mountains of southwest Iran, where my husband, our two daughters, and I have lived off and on since 1965. The people of Deh Koh are Lurs, speak Luri, and are Shi'a Muslims* like all native inhabitants of the tribal province to which their village belongs. The population of Deh Koh has grown steadily from a few dozen people in a small huddle of stone-and-adobe houses at the turn of the century to close to four thousand on last count, mostly by a combination of high birth rate and falling infant mortality rates.

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