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“In My Eyes He Was a Man”: Poor and Working-Class Boy Soldiers in the Iran-Iraq War

“In My Eyes He Was a Man”: Poor and Working-Class Boy Soldiers in the Iran-Iraq War During the Pahlavi period in Iran (1925–79), poor and working-class families were more likely to expect young sons to work to support the household. These boys, in turn, were more autonomous. Middle-class families, on the other hand, protected and controlled boys. Researchers have assumed that religious zealotry was the primary inspiration for boys to enlist in the Iran-Iraq War (1980–88) after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, ignoring the ways in which class inflected boyhood. While religious fervor may have been a motivation for some of the poor and working-class Iranian boys (between ten and fourteen) who enlisted, the expectation that they work took precedence. Moreover, at least some of these boys were eager to participate in war-front masculine homosociality rather than remain in feminized domestic spaces. This study analyzes biographies, census data, newspaper accounts, and original oral history interviews. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Middle East Women's Studies Duke University Press

“In My Eyes He Was a Man”: Poor and Working-Class Boy Soldiers in the Iran-Iraq War

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Copyright
Copyright © 2018 by the Association for Middle East Women’s Studies
ISSN
1552-5864
eISSN
1558-9579
DOI
10.1215/15525864-6680218
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

During the Pahlavi period in Iran (1925–79), poor and working-class families were more likely to expect young sons to work to support the household. These boys, in turn, were more autonomous. Middle-class families, on the other hand, protected and controlled boys. Researchers have assumed that religious zealotry was the primary inspiration for boys to enlist in the Iran-Iraq War (1980–88) after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, ignoring the ways in which class inflected boyhood. While religious fervor may have been a motivation for some of the poor and working-class Iranian boys (between ten and fourteen) who enlisted, the expectation that they work took precedence. Moreover, at least some of these boys were eager to participate in war-front masculine homosociality rather than remain in feminized domestic spaces. This study analyzes biographies, census data, newspaper accounts, and original oral history interviews.

Journal

Journal of Middle East Women's StudiesDuke University Press

Published: Jul 1, 2018

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