Suspended in space: Bedouins under the law of Israel

Ronen Shamir*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article demonstrates the legal consequences that flow from the conceptualization of the Bedouin as rootless nomads and from the imposition of certain legal categories of land ownership as means for solving disputes across the indigenous/nonindigenous divide. I argue that the law works by imposing conceptual grids on time and space and that this conceptual ordering, in turn, gives rise to a series of binary oppositions that affirm the distinctions between "us" (Progressive Westerners) and "them" (Chaotic Oriental nomads). Once the Bedouin are placed on the side of nature, judicial practices tend, on the one hand, to objectify the denial of Bedouin claims of land ownership and, on the other hand, to facilitate state policies of forcing the Bedouin into urban settlements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-256
Number of pages26
JournalLaw and Society Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1996


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