Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version


Publication Source




Start Page


Last Page


Copyright/Permission Statement

It would not, I think, be an exaggeration to say that the appearance of City and Village in Iran by Paul Ward English marks the beginning of a new stage in the steady development of academic writing on Iran. The book is concerned not with a ruler, or a period, nor with a city or a tribe or a village, but with a region. This is a new method of research which has been much discussed in recent years and in a larger sense has been responsible for new departures in the university teaching of oriental studies. This book is the first full scale study according to this method to appear concerning Iran. Though it is still perhaps early ( at the time of writing it is still not yet two years since the book's publication), the authors of this review article consider that it has not received sufficient attention. The book is by a geographer. The method implies use and co-ordination of the points of view of other disciplines (in so far as they may bear on the subject). The present writers are social anthropologists, one of us with a strong area bias. As will appear below there is much in this book which we would wish to question. We welcome English's study and the wealth of interesting and detailed material which it makes available, and we consider it a real contribution to the study of Iran, but we disagree with certain points of his application of the method and consequently of his interpretation of his material. The concept of regional studies grew out of a growing consciousness of disciplinary bias and isolation. It is possible that what follows will betray an anthropological bias. However, the pioneer aspect of English's work demands thorough public interdisciplinary discussion. It is in this spirit that the following critiques were written.

Included in

Anthropology Commons



Date Posted: 12 December 2016

This document has been peer reviewed.