narrators. From conventional stories similar to those found across the Islamic world to obscene
afsAneh or märchen, the boys’ performance encompasses items across the spectrum of oral,
Persian fictive genres. During the performance, various negotiations occur. In this paper, I
discuss two: "appropriateness" and "othering."
By looking at how concepts of appropriateness are negotiated during the storytelling
event, this paper illustrates movement along a performance continuum: from perfunctory
performance to more authoritative tones. Performance, then, is understood as a matter of degree.
After issues of appropriateness are resolved and a "breakthrough into performance" is realized,
the performance discussed here moves towards the pole of "full" performance.
Similarly, the narrators parse conflicting ideas of identity in a joke cycle. Their highly
ambiguous handling of the joke material reflects their relationships to the categories named in