International Journal of
Sociology and Anthropology

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. Sociol. Anthropol.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2006-988X
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJSA
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 329

Article in Press

Reconstruction of rural customs: Adherence of rural inhabitants to traditions as a way of prioritizing local models over governmental management in a participatory process

Ghasem Tahmasizadeh Navakh

  •  Received: 06 October 2019
  •  Accepted: 20 May 2021
In recent decades, the central government of Iran has established and consolidated the urban management structure in rural areas in order to better achieve its policies and goals. However, evaluations indicate that villagers are unwilling to participate in these rural management structures to address community issues. The present study aimed to survey the discourses used by rural residents to reinforce the conventions and traditions in rural communities which undermine the importance of government rural management structures. Data were collected through interviews with the residents of nine villages in Iran. The results demonstrated that the rural residents insisted on adherence to local traditions, emphasizing their dynamic conventional participation in the past. Moreover, they resisted the process of participation in modern rural management arrangements in order not to disregard their local values and traditions. Cultural background and values were prioritized by the rural residents, and they firmly believed government sponsored rural management structures to be inconsistent with these traditions. In the face of participatory issues, the residents preferred consulting the village elders (local leaders). In one of the villages, however, government managers had been more successful in achieving local participation. In this village the inhabitants clarified their criteria for resolving community issues by mentioning the distinction between two managers. Several rural discourses were revealed in the study, denoting the power of rural residents in challenging the rural management structure. Our findings challenge the oversimplification of rural communities and central planning as a predominant theme in the ideology of the Iranian state.

Keywords: Rural Management; Community Participation; Power; Tradition; local leaders