Political Roles of Aliabad Women: The Public/Private Dichotomy Transcended

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Yale University Press


Until the mid-1960s, public and political relations in the Iranian village of Aliabad were conducted through personal relationships. 'fhe government's hand had not spread into rural areas: no outside political authority or police force controlled village politics. The people themselves competed for political power and were in charge of maintaining stability. Competition between groups resulted in violence and insecurity. One had to tie personal relations together·-kin, friends, and partners.-to gather political support. Personal and domestic relations were also public and political relations, for politics was conducted through kinship and family relations. Although there appears to be no actual delineation between public and private realms in this setting, there is a strong indigenous ideology of the separation between the domestic and private and the public and political, which assumes women to predominate in the first and men in the second. Why this contradiction? To what uses is the publicprivate dichotomy put in this situation?I What are the results of encouraging such a dichotomy?

Chapter of

Shifting Boundaries: Gender Roles in the Middle East, Past and Present


Nikki Keddie
Beth Baron

This document is currently not available here.