Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

The populations of the Middle East have experienced particularly rapid socio-economic change over the past 40 years, due largely to the consolidation of the nation-state after the break-up of the Ottoman Empire at the close of WWI. The basic social, political and cultural rights of the pastoral populations (the Bedouin) of this region have been largely ignored, however, in part due to their remoteness and inaccessibility, but also because of the very fact of their mobility and physical marginality. With a few exceptions - such as Jordan and Saudi Arabia - cultural differences between the mobile Bedouin and the settled urban and agrarian populations have translated over time into development of discriminated minorities. The Bedouin way of life has come to be regarded as backward and primitive; in some places their very authenticity as part of the nation-state has been questioned as they fail to ‘Modernise’ at the same pace as surrounding populations. Thus in Lebanon the majority of Bedouin are ‘stateless’ without papers and live beyond the ‘boundaries’ of government services. Their mobile way of life is largely a thing of the past, but their sense of tribal belonging remains strong. Their desire for nationality papers reflects a wish to end their marginalisation and statelessness and be able to access government services.

More information


Journal article


Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Publication Date



6 (3)


19 - 20