Settling Land, Settling People: Sedenterisation, social change and land settlement in the Madaba region (14/01/2019)
Séminaire du Département des études contemporaines (DEC, Amman)
PhD candidate in Social Anthropology at University of Cambridge, where he is a Vice-Chancellor’s Scholar. His research examines broad questions around identity and conceptions of social change among Jordanian Bedouin. Based on 10 months of ethnographic fieldwork in and around Madaba as well as archival research and interviews in Amman and the UK, the project explores the history of socio-economic change and political interaction between the Jordanian State and the Bedouin of Central Jordan, from the Mandate period up to the present. Fred studied Archaeology and Anthropology at Oxford (BA) and Anthropology and Middle Eastern History at SOAS (MA), and has previously been a CBRL Scholar at the British Institute in Amman and is currently a Research Associate at the Centre for Strategic Studies, University of Jordan.
The scholarly consensus and Jordan’s own national political discourse has tended to emphasise the central role of Bedouin in the foundation and security of the nation-state, and the importance of such relationships in accounting for Jordan’s relative stability compared to neighbouring states, which often pursued more transformative policies in their own Badiya regions. This is despite the significant scholarly attention given to the processes of sedenterisation and socio-economic change such communities have experienced in the last century. Such discourses often highlight the role of policies begun during the Mandate in at once sustaining the symbolic significance of Bedouin/tribal heritage and the power and position of certain key Bedouin elites, while at once also pacifying and entangling them within the framework of the Nation-State. These processes, including Bedouin recruitment into the military, land-settlement, the Bedouin Control Laws and the general tacit acknowledgement and acceptance of phenomena such as tribal voting, patronage networks and para-legal ’tribal law’ dispute resolution, have become key to the nature of formal and informal political economy in Jordan. I critically examine this picture through a fine-grained analysis of socio-economic change (particularly through the lens of land registration and villigisation) in the area east and south of Madaba, using oral historical narratives and life histories collected during my fieldwork, as well as historical sources to produce a socially-situated understanding of how these differing histories have worked out on the ground and how they have generated differences in the current political economic positionally of these communities, including in light of recent protest movements in the area.
Date et horaire :
14 janvier 2018, 11h-12,30h