Let Shepherding Endure

Applied Anthropology and the Preservation of a Cultural Tradition in Israel and the Middle East

By Gideon M. Kressel

Subjects: Anthropology
Series: SUNY series in Anthropology and Judaic Studies
Paperback : 9780791458068, 233 pages, August 2003
Hardcover : 9780791458051, 233 pages, August 2003

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Table of contents

List of Illustrations



1. Nomadic Pastoralists, Agriculturalists, and the State: Self-Sufficiency and Dependence in the Middle East

2. Changes in Land Usage by the Negev Bedouin since the Mid-Nineteenth Century: The Intratribal Perspective

3. Applied Anthropology, Cultural Survival, and New Directions for the Future of the Negev Bedouin

4. Governmental Policies toward the Bedouin

5. Enhancing the Attractiveness of Shepherding

6. Are Shepherds' Villages Viable?

7. Designing a Shepherd's Village

8. Teach the Children of Judah Sheep!: The Crisis of Small Ruminants Breeding

9. Toward a Better Plan of Action


Name Index

Subject Index

Addresses how shepherding communities in Israel and the Middle East might be preserved.


Examining the crucial problems confronting present-day livestock breeders, principally Bedouin and Jews in Israel, but also pastoral nomads in neighboring Middle Eastern countries, Let Shepherding Endure proposes new ways for these governments to enhance and sustain the long-term future development of shepherding communities. Adopting a broad historical and anthropological perspective on the topic, and assessing various pastoral relief programs, Kressel proposes an alternative program whereby the region's states would promote a brand of pastoralism that preserves rangeland herding while keeping in step with the contemporary cultural and political context. This truly visionary set of recommendations would have several dividends, especially for the Bedouin: their cultural legacy, in danger of obsolescence, would be preserved while at the same time enhancing both their pastoral skills and ability to secure a livelihood from herding.

Gideon M. Kressel is Professor of Anthropology and Oriental Sciences at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel. He is the author of several books, including Ascendancy Through Aggression: The Anatomy of a Blood Feud Among Urbanized Bedouins and coeditor (with A. Paul Hare) of Israel as Center Stage: A Setting for Social and Religious Enactments.


Kressel's book contributes to our understanding of the difficulties experienced by romanticized groups … under the conditions of market economies." — Journal of Rural Cooperation

"This is a significant contribution, not just isolated to managing the 'Bedouin problem,' but also as a kind of model for applied research in similar fields." — Trond Thuen, author of Quest for Equity: Norway and the Saami Challenge

"This account is a mature work of a scholar (once a child shepherd) who has devoted decades to research among the Bedouin. Let Shepherding Endure is both intellectually sound and substantively provocative." — Philip Carl Salzman, author of Black Tents of Baluchistan