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The bitter-sweet taste of despair: death and youth culture in charismatic Shi’ism
Södertörn University, School of Historical and Contemporary Studies, Study of Religions.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6976-8435
2015 (English)In: Life here and hereafter: beliefs and pracitices : Vilnius, Lithuania, 23-24 October, 2015, Vilnuis University : abstracts, 2015, 8- p.Conference paper, Abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Based on fieldwork in Qom, this paper explores the ritual and theological meanings of death among members of a Shi’ite revivalist movement in contemporary Iran. The heyyati movement represents a charismatic development in the religious landscape of the Islamic Republic. The movement expanded on massively during the last decade and played a pivotal role in the mobilisation of popular support for former president Ahmadinejad. The movement circles around an independent type of preachers known as zaker or madha. Although the heyyati movement represents a form of Iranian folk religiosity that in connection to certain holidays entertains broad popular support, it has also developed into a particular subculture with its own lifestyle, ritual repertoire and ideological profile. Lately this development has created controversy as some preachers, more or less openly, have challenged the clerical establishment in the country. Stories about the martyrdom of historical Islamic heroes, ritual manifestations of one’s own readiness to die and meditations about death, constitute important features in the religious life of heyyati men. Despite these mournful expressions in their ritual life, however, present and former members of the movement predominantly speak of their engagement in terms of joy and friendship. In this paper the amalgamation of politics, joyful youth culture and death awareness is presented and analysed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. 8- p.
National Category
History of Religions
Research subject
Historical Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-28680Local ID: 518/42/2012OAI: diva2:866910
3rd International Scientific Conference of the Lithuanian Society for the Study of Religions: Life here and hereafter, Vilnius, October 23-24, 2015.
Negotiating authority in contemporary shiite thought and practice
Swedish Research Council
Available from: 2015-11-04 Created: 2015-11-04 Last updated: 2017-01-25Bibliographically approved

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Thurfjell, David
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