Middle East Studies

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Bedouin in the Holy Land during the Ottoman Era, 1516–1918

The Rise and Fall of Tribal Dominance

Muhammad Suwaed is a senior lecturer in the Department of Political Sciences and Middle Eastern Studies at the Western Galilee College, Acre, Israel. Dr. Suwaed, a scholar studying Middle Eastern Society, Culture and Politics, has published many studies in his field of expertise, including: The Bedouins in Israel and in the Middle East, Political Parties in the Middle East, the Status of Women in the Middle East.

In the Sussex Library of Study Middle East and North African Studies

The ‘Holy Land’ refers to a geographic location comprising the narrowest part of what is called ‘the Fertile Crescent’, between the east coast of the Mediterranean Sea and the eastern edge of the Syrian Desert – the area occupied today by the State of Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Throughout the Ottoman era, this geographic location was the meeting point of two cultures: the mobile nomadic tribes who roamed the land with their herds, and the farmers who settled down, cultivated the land and eventually built cities and infrastructures that led to the formation of political borders.

This book describes and analyses the part played by the Bedouin in the cultural and political history of the Holy Land, during the centuries when it was a province governed by the Ottoman Empire. A historical study based on diverse materials, the work is based on official Ottoman, British and Israeli archives; official publications of archival documents; foreign consulate reports; private and municipal archives; legislative and registry records; historical reports and literary commentaries in multiple sources.

The rise and fall of Bedouin dominance can be construed as a barometer of the political strength of political authority: when the central regime showed weakness, Bedouin tribes became stronger and dominated the territories they lived in; when the central government became stronger, the forces of law and order restricted the power of the Bedouin. Many social customs and conventions of present-day Arab societies are influenced by tribal heritage, and tribal identity still dominates the social and political perceptions of nations in the region. The book thus provides important insights into the political culture of the Middle East, especially the re-emergence of tribal and ethnic dominance that followed the recent collapse of the nation-state regimes in some Arab countries in the region.

Hardback ISBN: 978-1-78976-101-6
Hardback Price: £80/$99.95
Release Date: March 2022
Page Extent / Format: 300 pp. 234 x 156 mm
Illustrated: Yes


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