The Bureaucratic Professionalization of Funeral Rites in Tehran’s Behesht-e Zahra Cemetery

  • Zohreh BayatriziEmail author
  • Hajar Ghorbani
Part of the Science Across Cultures: The History of Non-Western Science book series (SACH, volume 9)


The Behesht-e Zahra Cemetery in Tehran, Iran, is one of the largest in the world, containing one and a half million graves. It is the main cemetery for a city of eight million residents. Due to the high volume of bodies arriving for burial everyday as well as the uniformity of Shia Islamic burial rituals, protocols have developed to implement an efficient division of labour and speed up the process. We study how this organizational and bureaucratic division of labour interacts with the community-oriented spirit of Shia Islamic burial rituals, the compromises that have to be, and the human impact. We also examine the implications of these developments for a number of existing theories regarding “modernity” and the “sequestration of death”.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  2. 2.University of IsfahanIsfahanIran

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