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Antropologicheskij forum, 2022, no. 55
THE IRON KHADZAR AS AN ELEMENT OF THE SOCIAL INFRASTRUCTURE IN A MODERN NORTH OSSETIAN CITY
European University at St Petersburg
Abstract: The article describes khadzars—special ritual houses built in the courtyards of residential areas of Vladikavkaz (Republic of North Ossetia—Alania) that have become elements of informal social infrastructure. As a venue for ritual feasts, khadzars are built by families living in a multi-storey house or complex of houses and are the responsibility of the “khadzar activists”—groups of adult men who organise and oversee collective rituals during funerals, memorials, Ossetian and national calendar festivities, and sometimes weddings. These same men often use the khadzar to pass their leisure time in it. Built with the tacit consent of local authorities and actively used by them to, for example, hold meetings with residents during election campaigns, khadzars nevertheless remain illegal structures with an unclear legal status. The lack of clarity on this issue becomes a problem when utility companies start demanding that residents enter into separate contracts to connect the khadzars to the city’s infrastructure—heating and electricity—which poses a challenge to the neighbourhood community. This raises the question for the house or yard community as to who really owns these buildings and who should therefore take care of their fate.
Keywords: infrastructure, North Ossetia—Alania, Ossetians, anthropology of religion, urban ethnography, ethnic traditionalism.
To cite: Shtyrkov S., ‘Iron khadzar (Iron khædzar) kak element sotsialnoy infrastruktury v sovremennom severoosetinskom gorode’ [The Iron Khadzar as an Element of the Social Infrastructure in a Modern North Ossetian City], Antropologicheskij forum, 2022, no. 55, pp. 195–220.
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