Download Among the Iranians: A Guide to Iran's Culture and Customs by Sofia Koutlaki PDF

By Sofia Koutlaki

Offers an within examine the hidden principles that exist between Iranians, from well mannered habit and the underlying suggestion of face to gender roles to the picture that Iranians are looking to venture to the world.

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Additional info for Among the Iranians: A Guide to Iran's Culture and Customs

Example text

In summary, face loss may occur when facts that were meant to remain secret are revealed, or when adverse or negative facts about one’s character or actions become known. Keeping up appearances (zâher-râ hefz kardan), keeping secret facts that should be kept secret, and not revealing information that may cast an unflattering light on someone are all part of maintaining people’s face and that of their social group. This sentiment has a strong bearing on Iranians’ behavior, deportment, and relationships.

FAMILY CIRCLE For Iranians, as in most societies, the nuclear family is the basic unit of social organization. qxd 1/25/10 8:05 AM Page 22 AMONG THE IRANIANS family has much greater psychological and practical significance. If we wanted to represent this idea schematically, we could draw a series of concentric circles, with their center being the individual. The innermost circle includes the individual’s immediate family: parents and siblings if single, or spouse and children if married. In the latter case, in the next circle out are the parents, siblings, and their families and the person’s own in-laws.

Dollars. qxd 1/25/10 8:05 AM Page 19 TWO Relationships and “Face” Those ten days in Iran in February 1989 were a kind of crash course in Iranian culture. I understood very little of the language and much less of the culture, and the rules took a long time to work out. Iranian friends in Greece and England had given me some guidelines on behavior (don’t laugh out loud; don’t stretch your legs; only reply with a yes/no and a restrained smile to questions), but these didn’t help me understand any better, only made me tread more carefully.

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