Being Modern in Iran by Fariba Adelkhah

By Fariba Adelkhah

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By Fariba Adelkhah

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The period of economic crisis seems to some ill chosen for a preoccupation with flowers. 'The Mayor should have concentrated attention on the flowers of our btiten, the flowers of our soul (golhiiye junemun), instead of the flowers of the zaher, and given jobs to young people so that they can marry', as one comment has it. The city authority's generosity over plant life contrasts with demands that people restrict water and electricity consumption. Less well-off families can also feel frustrated at being unable to satisfy children's requests when they go to the parks where money is now king.

As well as this feeling of familiarity, the municipal parks provide the people of a district with a way to widen their social space. For example, they make it possible for women to go out in a completely lawful way, and also in a quite distinctive way: nothing is more respectable, but nothing is more modem either, than taking the children for a walk in the park - and from that viewpoint the public gardens are places of particular importance for the 'social being' (adam-e ejtema 'i) or the person of integrity (lidam-e hesabz).

37. On the extent of property speculation in the 1960s, see the pioneering work by P. Vieille, Marchi des terrains et societe urbaine. Recherche sur Ia ville de Teheran, Paris, Anthropos, 1970. It goes without saying that the Revolution has in no way brought an end to speculation, especially by the big foundations. In fact it can be suggested that these networks of interests are among the main opponents of Mr. Karbaschi's policies. 38. 1373 (1994). 39. Ibid. 26 Being Modern in Iran It is difficult to interpret these divisions in strictly political or institutional terms.

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