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Continuity and Change: Purity and Pollution Practices among the People of Ahura-Mazda in Iran

ILKHANI, YASMIN,HILDA (2022) Continuity and Change: Purity and Pollution Practices among the People of Ahura-Mazda in Iran. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Author-imposed embargo until 23 December 2025.


This thesis is concerned with processses of continuity and change in purity and pollution practices among a small Zoroastrian community in Yazd, Iran. The polluting nature of menstruation has been taken as the starting point in analyzing ritualistic spaces from which menstruation specifically and pollution more generally are absent. The analysis of such spaces further demonstrates how practices concerning purity and pollution have changed within living memory while polluting phenomena are still considered as polluting. Drawing from ethnographic fieldwork conducted in Yazd between the years 2017 to 2018, I deconstruct the processes through which sacred and pure meaning is produced in each space through women’s actions as well as the actions of significant others, including men, members of the clergy, and other ritual specialists. Employing anthropological theories of materiality, I show how those actions create shared understandings of the relationship between the Zoroastrian person through their participation within, or avoidance of/exclusion from, pure and sacred spaces.As such, the thesis aims to provide a novel anthropological perspective on Zoroastrian understandings and practices of purity and pollution in contemporary Iran.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Anthropology, Department of
Thesis Date:2022
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:09 Jan 2023 09:59

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