Urban Nomads of Petra: An Alternative Interpretation of the Bedoul Bedouin's Relationship with History and Space

Fuleihan, Layan Sima

Jordan's efforts to become a stronger state in the global community have frequently conflicted with the Bedouin population‟s desire to continue its semi-nomadic and pastoral tradition. The Bedoul, who claim ancestral heritage to the ancient city of Petra, face a complex conflict with the urbanizing state. This paper offers an alternative evaluation of the relationship between the state and semi-nomadic communities by reexamining historical trends and the Bedoul Bedouin condition through a multi-dimensional analytic, which is inspired by the concept of the global city as defined by Saskia Sassen. By referring to this analytical lens as the “global city aesthetic,” I intend to make use of the analytical method that allowed for the global city to be defined, to make room for the reality of contradictions, and finally, to be sensitive to the imagery and dynamics inspired by the concept of the global city. Furthermore, I hope to demonstrate the ability of this alternative approach to transcend the limitations of historiographical approaches that emphasize divergent over synthetic trends, and thereby to reevaluate conflicts to create space for reconciliation. This analytical method also transcends the temporal hierarchy that overvalues the present and devalues the past by considering historical realities in an assessment of contemporary conditions. Finally, an application to the issue of desertification illustrates the analytic's versatility and relevance to a variety of issues.

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Consilience: The Journal of Sustainable Development

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Earth Institute
Published Here
December 2, 2015