Vol. 25 No. 1 (2021)

Scale, Landscape and Indigenous Bedouin Land Use: Spatial Order and Agricultural Sedentarisation in the Negev

Meraiot Ariel
Ben Gurion University of the Negev
Avinoam Meir
Ben Gurion University of the Negev
Steve Rosen
Ben Gurion University of the Negev

Published 2021-05-12

How to Cite

Ariel, M., Meir, A., & Rosen, S. (2021). Scale, Landscape and Indigenous Bedouin Land Use: Spatial Order and Agricultural Sedentarisation in the Negev . Nomadic Peoples, 25(1). https://doi.org/10.3197/np.2021.250102


By taking a small-scale perspective, Bedouin pastoral space in the Israeli Negev in the modern period has been misinterpreted as chaotic by various Israeli institutions. In critiquing this ontology we suggest that a knowledge gap with regard to an appropriate scale of understanding Bedouin settlement patterns and mechanisms of sedentarisation is at its root, and that a larger-scale analysis indicates that their space is in fact highly ordered. Field surveys and interviews with the local Bedouin showed that household cultivation plots in the Negev Highland during the period of the British Mandate were organised at a large scale through natural and man-made landscape features reflecting their structure, development and deployment in a highly ordered space. This analysis carries significant implications for understanding pastoral spaces at the local scale, particularly offering better comprehension of various sedentary forms and suggesting new approaches to sustainable planning and development for the Bedouin.


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