Edited By: William Lancaster and Fidelity Lancaster
458 pages, no illustrations
The result of 25 years of research with different tribal groups in the Arabian peninsula, this study focuses on ethnographic description of Arab tribal societies in five regions of the peninsula, with comparative material from others. Having become aware of the depth in time of Arab tribal structures, the authors have developed a view of Arabic tribal discourse where "tribe" is seen as essentially an identity that confers access to a social structure and its processes. This insight enables the authors to clarify tribal processes of land use and resource management which are normally "invisible," as they leave few written records and the archaeological remains are notoriously difficult to date. The contextual nature of description by local users leads to a reevaluation of social categories, and to an awareness of relationships between bedouin and peasant, tribesman and townsman. A detailed appreciation of the different agricultural, pastoral and fishing practices of the region is presented, together with the underpinning of indigenous theories of land use and resource management. This detailed monograph incorporates many theoretical aspects, including concepts of indigenous theories; scarce resources; ownership, living, use and access; the relationship between society and animals; the nature of political power; the "boom and bust" economy of herding; ideas about labour and investment for production and distribution; and ideas about towns and villages.
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