Introduction. Reshaping tribal identities in the contemporary Arab world: Politics, (self-) representation, and the construction of Bedouin history

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Tribal groups have become active in re-capturing their past by writing down autonomous histories of particular tribes and tribal segments, thereby challenging external perspectives. Apart from the trend towards political participation, a comparative analysis of the reshaping of tribal identities in the contemporary Arab World must also take into account the present forms of cultural heritage production being stimulated both by the nation states and Bedouins themselves. Neither endeavor necessarily leads to a coherent entity. The Bedouin concern with their own heritage again comes to the fore in Hobbs' description when he is asked by his Bedouin informants to write down their oral narratives in order to preserve them in the form of written texts. In some countries of the Arab world these self-representations by Bedouin groups have been accompanied by new forms of political emancipation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10-15
Number of pages6
JournalNomadic Peoples
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2014


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography

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