The Bureaucratic Professionalization of Funeral Rites in Tehran’s Behesht-e Zahra Cemetery
The Behesht-e Zahra Cemetery in Tehran, Iran, is one of the largest in the world, containing one and a half million graves. It is the main cemetery for a city of eight million residents. Due to the high volume of bodies arriving for burial everyday as well as the uniformity of Shia Islamic burial rituals, protocols have developed to implement an efficient division of labour and speed up the process. We study how this organizational and bureaucratic division of labour interacts with the community-oriented spirit of Shia Islamic burial rituals, the compromises that have to be, and the human impact. We also examine the implications of these developments for a number of existing theories regarding “modernity” and the “sequestration of death”.
- Bernstein, A. (2006). Modern passings: Death rites, politics, and social change in imperial Japan. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.Google Scholar
- Bower, C. B. (2017). Dying to be modern: Cataraqui Cemetery, romanticism, consumerism, and the extension of modernity in Kingston, Ontario, 1780–1900. Western University: Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Depository.Google Scholar
- Cassell, D. K., Salinas, R. C., & Winn, P. S. (2005). The encyclopedia of death and dying. Facts On File.Google Scholar
- Derrida, J., & Morton, T. (2017). Notes toward the possibility of a postmortem politics. Mortal assemblages: Rhetorics of ecology and death (pp. 258–281), dissertation by J.T. Barnett, The University of Utah.Google Scholar
- Hallam, E., Hockey, J., & Howarth, G. (2005). Beyond the body: Death and social identity. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Hobsbawm, E., & Ranger, T. (Eds.). (1983). The invention of tradition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Hockey, J., Komaromy, C., & Woodthorpe, K. (Eds.). (2010). The matter of death: Space, place and materiality. London: Palgrave.Google Scholar
- IRNA. (2017). Ozviat 800 nafar dar kanun-e tathir konandegan-e behesht-e Zahra [Eight-hundred volunteers have joined the Ablution Team at Behesht-e Zahra Organization]. http://www.irna.ir/fa/News/82792121. Last accessed 22 June 2018.
- Mitford, J. (1964). The American way of death. New York: Fawcett Crest.Google Scholar
- Walter, T. (2014). Sociological perspectives on death, dying, and bereavement. In T. Attig & J. Stillion (Eds.), Death, dying, and bereavement: contemporary perspectives, institutions, and practices (pp. 31–44). New York: Springer.Google Scholar