Naqab Bedouins and the Idea of Desert

Authors: Johanna Adolfsson*, Stockholm University
Topics: Landscape, Middle East, Indigenous Peoples
Keywords: sedenterization, drylands, Naqab, Negev, remote sensing, indigeneity
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 5:20 PM / 7:00 PM
Room: Grand Ballroom A, Sheraton, 5th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Commonly, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is portrayed as though consisting of two contesting groups. Recently, academic attention has been turned to a third ethnic group; the semi-nomadic Negev/Naqab Bedouins. Many Bedouin communities are threatened by eviction, as land-related ownership are a source of great conflict in the region. The situation is further complicated by the fact the concept of “indigenous” is contested, although the group's contemporary history shares characteristics with indigenous groups across the globe i.e. forced sedentarization, designated townships and obstructions to keep the necessary connection to the land. The majority of available research undertakes an analysis based on the region as a political space. Applying the concept of landscape instead allows a richer analysis and a combination of methods. Generally, land claims by indigenous groups is underpinned by a combination of history of tending to the land and a future where such practice is a core feature. Here lies a challenge for satellite analysis, to help further develop insight into how landscapes are constructed to undermine or support a historical narrative and how to better analyze drylands and pastoral landscapes. A provisional conclusion is how the concept of dryland/desert has functioned in shifting land-use regime and thus ownership of land in the region. The purpose of this study is to shed light on the processual change of the Negev/Naqab and its impact on the Bedouin population. Methods includes image and remote sensing analysis, in-depth interviews and discourse analysis.

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