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Between Desert and State: Power Relations and Balance Between Tradition and Modernity Among the Zalabieh Bedouins of Wadi Rum Desert

Received: 28 May 2021    Accepted: 16 June 2021    Published: 22 June 2021
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Abstract

This article presents an ethnographic study based on the 22 month research conducted with the ZalabiehBedouins of Wadi Rum (Jordan); herein focuses on the conceptualization of the identity of the malepopulation in multidimentional ways. In the first placediscusses the concept of “Bedouinism” as constructed through interactions with the state both by consent and by rupture; and then analyzes “manhood” as self-identification as understood via interactions with the outside “other.” Describes how the Zalabieh Bedouins of Wadi Rum desert, selected for their integrity, loyalty and trustworthy character, manned the army and the police, thereby maintaining and strengthening state institutions. It also shows, paradoxically, how the confidence to do so gives them the courage and audacity to oppose the State and its bureaucrats around certain issues. In addition discusses how manhood is related to Bedouinism and which cultural practices highlight manhood. Camel races and tourism--essential activities of these people-- are examined as hegemonic power parameters that display “us” and construct “otherness.” Presents a comparative analysis of camel races with “Balinese cockfights” as described and interpreted by Clifford Geertz in order to highlight certain important elements of Zalabieh Bedouin culture via cross-cultural comparison. Examines the dimensions of “space” and “place”--the desert as a physical environment—in the construction of the discrete Bedouin identity and argues that the dynamics of localityare encapsulated in the integration of the biological, the environmental, and the social as existential spaces. Within this overarching framework analyzes the relationships among male Zalabieh Bedouins within their vast desert territory to capture their dual identities as men of the desert and servants of the government, which exist in a state calledbalanced opposition.

DOI 10.11648/j.ss.20211003.19
Published in Social Sciences (Volume 10, Issue 3, June 2021)
Page(s) 140-149
Creative Commons

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, provided the original work is properly cited.

Copyright

Copyright © The Author(s), 2024. Published by Science Publishing Group

Keywords

Bedouin, Identity, Manhood, Place, Power Relations, Middle East, Jordan

References
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  • APA Style

    Katerina Marinaki. (2021). Between Desert and State: Power Relations and Balance Between Tradition and Modernity Among the Zalabieh Bedouins of Wadi Rum Desert. Social Sciences, 10(3), 140-149. https://doi.org/10.11648/j.ss.20211003.19

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    Katerina Marinaki. Between Desert and State: Power Relations and Balance Between Tradition and Modernity Among the Zalabieh Bedouins of Wadi Rum Desert. Soc. Sci. 2021, 10(3), 140-149. doi: 10.11648/j.ss.20211003.19

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    AMA Style

    Katerina Marinaki. Between Desert and State: Power Relations and Balance Between Tradition and Modernity Among the Zalabieh Bedouins of Wadi Rum Desert. Soc Sci. 2021;10(3):140-149. doi: 10.11648/j.ss.20211003.19

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  • @article{10.11648/j.ss.20211003.19,
      author = {Katerina Marinaki},
      title = {Between Desert and State: Power Relations and Balance Between Tradition and Modernity Among the Zalabieh Bedouins of Wadi Rum Desert},
      journal = {Social Sciences},
      volume = {10},
      number = {3},
      pages = {140-149},
      doi = {10.11648/j.ss.20211003.19},
      url = {https://doi.org/10.11648/j.ss.20211003.19},
      eprint = {https://article.sciencepublishinggroup.com/pdf/10.11648.j.ss.20211003.19},
      abstract = {This article presents an ethnographic study based on the 22 month research conducted with the ZalabiehBedouins of Wadi Rum (Jordan); herein focuses on the conceptualization of the identity of the malepopulation in multidimentional ways. In the first placediscusses the concept of “Bedouinism” as constructed through interactions with the state both by consent and by rupture; and then analyzes “manhood” as self-identification as understood via interactions with the outside “other.” Describes how the Zalabieh Bedouins of Wadi Rum desert, selected for their integrity, loyalty and trustworthy character, manned the army and the police, thereby maintaining and strengthening state institutions. It also shows, paradoxically, how the confidence to do so gives them the courage and audacity to oppose the State and its bureaucrats around certain issues. In addition discusses how manhood is related to Bedouinism and which cultural practices highlight manhood. Camel races and tourism--essential activities of these people-- are examined as hegemonic power parameters that display “us” and construct “otherness.” Presents a comparative analysis of camel races with “Balinese cockfights” as described and interpreted by Clifford Geertz in order to highlight certain important elements of Zalabieh Bedouin culture via cross-cultural comparison. Examines the dimensions of “space” and “place”--the desert as a physical environment—in the construction of the discrete Bedouin identity and argues that the dynamics of localityare encapsulated in the integration of the biological, the environmental, and the social as existential spaces. Within this overarching framework analyzes the relationships among male Zalabieh Bedouins within their vast desert territory to capture their dual identities as men of the desert and servants of the government, which exist in a state calledbalanced opposition.},
     year = {2021}
    }
    

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    AU  - Katerina Marinaki
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Author Information
  • Department of Balkan, Slavic & Oriental Studies, School of Economic and Regional Studies, University of Macedonia, Thessaloniki, Greece

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