chapter  8
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Recent urban studies of the Middle East have criticized those approaches that look

at cities and villages as completely separate entities. Instead, stressing the

interrelations and overlaps between the two, these studies have advocated setting

up a wider regional framework comprising cities, villages, and even nomads, to

highlight the differences and similarities between urban and rural settlements as well

as the characteristics of their relations. Such an approach, these studies say, is more

appropriate for understanding the reality of Middle Eastern societies, in which town-

dwellers, villagers, and nomads often mingle with each other.2 Although such a

basic stance as this is applicable in urban studies and is widely accepted among

scholars, there have been only a few positive works discussing urban-rural relations

in Iranian studies from such a point of view, at least for the pre-modern era.3