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Demolitions and Amendments: Coping with Cultural Recognition and Its Denial in Southern Israel

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This article examines how social preferences, in the form of cultural politics, become concretised in land laws. In Israel, Bedouin Arabs in unrecognised villages and Jewish farmers of individual farmsteads each faced governmental eviction orders and responded by seeking recognition of their land-use practices as legal. However, whereas Jewish farmers successfully mobilised place-based identities to gain legalisation, Bedouin Arabs' dwelling practices were not recognised as the legitimate basis for land claims, and their attempts to assert place-based identities have been denied. Instead, Bedouin Arabs faced pressures of 'de-cultural accommodation' and continued evictions. Ethnographic comparison of these two cases of 'illegal' settlement demonstrates how cultural identities - as former nomads or pioneer farmers - matter for land claims.
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Keywords: Israel; cultural recognition; de-cultural accommodation; land claims; legitimacy

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2015

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  • Nomadic Peoples is an international journal published by the White Horse Press for the Commission on Nomadic Peoples, International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences. Its primary concerns are the current circumstances of all nomadic peoples around the world and their prospects. Its readership includes all those interested in nomadic peoples, scholars, researchers, planners and project administrators.
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