Spaces of citizenship: the Bedouin and Israeli frontier development

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The paper focuses on implications for citizenship for indigenous minority groups. Kyimlicka (1989) refers to this issue when advocating First Nations collective rights in Canada as part of a liberal democratic approach which refers to the concept of territoriality as part and parcel of citizen rights. It must be emphasized though that there is a clash between Kyimlicka's approach and the fact that the capitalistic economic approach is viewed, as Jorgensen says, as a mechanism of indigenous exploitation. This paper takes a similar perspective and focuses on territoriality as the major expression of citizenship in the context of planning and development. It examines how far the State of Israel acknowledges the rights and attachment to territory of the Bedouin, as an indigenous minority, in policies regarding the development of the Negev Desert. Achnowledgement of citizen rights should first and foremost be expressed in involving the Bedouin in any development actions taken in the area. This idea of participation as an integral part of citizenship is not new. Citizenship has long involved a reciprocity of rights and duties for the community (Held, 1991). Citizenship formalizes the conditions for full participation (Smith, 1994). As Held notes, there is much significant history in the attempt (of authorities) to restrict the extension of citizen rights to certain groups or classes, such as owners, men, white men, educated men, etc. As we shall see, this became the case in the landownership disputes between the Bedouin and the Israeli government. In the next section I look at interpretations of citizenship in space, or what I call in this paper (after Painter and Philo, 1995) spaces of citizenship.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-306
Number of pages16
JournalProgress in Planning
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1997


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