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Changing women's roles, changing environmental knowledges: evidence from Upper Egypt

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The aim of this paper is to investigate the ways in which changing gender roles in a Bedouin community in Upper Egypt, brought about by settlement over the last 20 years on the shores of Lake Nasser, have impacted on the accumulation and development of indigenous environmental knowledges by Bedouin women. The research was carried out among four groups of Ababda Bedouin in the Eastern Desert of Egypt and involved in-depth monthly conversations carried out over a period of 12 months. The main conclusions of the study are that the women of the study area have had to develop new knowledges which, in some cases, are now different from those held by men because of the different economic circumstances in which many find themselves; that these knowledges are fluid, dynamic and ever-changing with their own internal dynamism; and that socially constructed notions of gender are vital in the development process, notions that are sensitive to both men's and women's interests and their interrelationships.

Keywords: Bedouin; Egypt; desert; gender roles; group interviews; indigenous knowledges

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Geography & Geomatics, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8QQ s: ;, Email: 2: Unit of Environmental Studies and Development, South Valley University, Aswan, Egypt

Publication date: December 1, 2003

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