Bedouin, Settlers, and Holiday-Makers

Egypt’s Changing Northwest Coast

Donald P. Cole
Soraya Altorki

The arid regions impose strict limits upon human existence and activity. And yet by respecting those limits, the flourishing and stable culture of the

English edition
1 September 1998
266 pp.
2 maps
14.5X23cm
ISBN 9781617973611
For sale worldwide

$15.99

This book is only available for purchase from Egypt

The arid regions impose strict limits upon human existence and activity. And yet by respecting those limits, the flourishing and stable culture of these regions has for centuries been sustained. In the late twentieth century, however, forces such as modernization, globalization, and the politics and economics of nations became so great that major changes in the old ways had to take place for the sake of survival. Egypt’s northwest coast, where meager coastal rains have supported a sparse but thriving population of Bedouin, saw the arrival of settlers from the Nile Valley, accustomed to a very different way of life and production, and hordes of tourists whose “empty, silent structures” effectively turned the most productive strip of the coastal range into an artificial desert. This study documents the great accommodations that took place to ensure the arid rangelands of the northwest coast continue to be viable for the demands of human existence imposed on them. “A main thesis of this study,” the authors write, “is that change in the northwest coast of Egypt has strong parallels in other arid regions of the wider Arab world; and specific comparisons are made to change underway elsewhere—especially regarding the transformation of Arab nomadic pastoralist production to a new form of ranching, and the related changes of sedentarization and the monetization of most aspects of livelihood.”

Donald P. Cole

Donald Cole is professor emeritus of anthropology at the American University in Cairo and the author of Nomads of the Nomads: The Al-Murrah Bedouin of the Empty Quarter. Soraya Altorki is professor of anthropology at the American University in Cairo and author of Women in Saudi Arabia: Ideology and Behavior Among the Elite.

Soraya Altorki

Soraya Altorki is professor of anthropology at the American University in Cairo. Camillia Fawzi El-Solh, a freelance sociologist, is presently researching Arab immigrant communities in Britain.
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