Being Bedouin Around Petra: Life at a World Heritage Site in the Twenty-First Century | BERGHAHN BOOKS
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Being Bedouin Around Petra: Life at a World Heritage Site in the Twenty-First Century

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Being Bedouin Around Petra

Life at a World Heritage Site in the Twenty-First Century

Mikkel Bille

210 pages, 12 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78920-120-8 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (January 2019)

ISBN  978-1-80073-914-7 $34.95/£27.95 / Pb / Published (August 2023)

eISBN 978-1-80539-347-4 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


“This new monograph by Bille deserves to be widely read as a lucid study of tensions between what he identifies as competing ‘universalities’ – though he also uses the arguably more precise term ‘universalisms’… His thoughtful, multi-layered analysis has a broad resonance beyond its ethnographic details and would surely be welcomed in tourism and heritage studies.” • JRAI (Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute)

“Written in a lucid and succinct style accessible to those beyond the scope of anthropology and heritage studies, Bille builds on ethnographic fieldwork that took place between 2005 and 2011.” • Social Anthropology

“The book offers an interesting bottom-up perspective on heritage as a modern product, which finds it difficult to define what is authentic in a situation where multiple competing heritage ideologies coexist. Bille’s work provides a rich case study that explores how gaps between powerful heritage and religious ideologies are filled and negotiated through engagement with material culture.” • International Journal of Heritage Studies

“Bille’s ethnography of rural communities around Petra comes as a welcomed contribution to this emerging area of study.” • Anthropology Matters


Petra, Jordan became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1985, and the semi-nomadic Bedouin inhabiting the area were resettled as a consequence. The Bedouin themselves paradoxically became UNESCO Masterpieces of Oral and Intangible Heritage in 2005 for the way in which their oral traditions and everyday lives relate to the landscape they no longer live in. Being Bedouin Around Petra asks: How could this happen? And what does it mean to be Bedouin when tourism, heritage protection, national discourse, an Islamic Revival and even New Age spiritualism lay competing claims to the past in the present?

Mikkel Bille is a professor in ethnology at University of Copenhagen. His research focuses on the role of material culture and the senses in contemporary society.

Subject: Anthropology (General)Anthropology of ReligionHeritage Studies
Area: Middle East & Israel


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