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Oman's Diverse Society: Southern Oman

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Dhufar, the southern region of the Sultanate of Oman, displays a tremendous diversity in its social structure, rather surprising for an area so small. While the people of the coastal plain and the inland Najd are Arabic-speaking, the mountain highlands of the region are home to various non-Arabic speaking communities. Brief descriptions of these communities are provided, as well as of other non-Arabic-speaking groups that seem to have originated in Dhufar but have moved into the northeastern deserts. Unlike the case in northern Oman, the principal boundaries of Dhufar's ethnic groups lie in language; but, as social change accelerates, this distinction may well disappear in the not-too-distant future. The Dhufar War of the 1960s and 1970s, as well as Oman's socioeconomic change since 1970, have increased physical and social mobility and blurred traditional social distinctions.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2004

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