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Social Network and Vulnerability: A Clear Link in Bedouin Society (Egypt)

Véronique Alary, Samir Messad, Ibrahim Daoud, Adel Aboul-Naga, Mona Abdelzaher Osman, Pascal Bonnet, Jean-François Tourrand
Human ecology 2016 v.44 no.1 pp. 81-90
animals, arid lands, assets, coasts, drought, educational status, irrigation canals, land restoration, lifestyle, livelihood, semiarid zones, social capital, social change, social networks, society, Egypt, Middle East
In the last 60 years, the livelihoods of agro-pastoral and pastoral families in the arid and semi-arid zones in North Africa and the Middle East have undergone major changes caused by significant incentives to adopt a sedentary lifestyle and the increasing intensity of drought events. Such changes have also been influenced by land reclamation projects accompanied by the construction of reservoirs and dikes in the dry lands as well as the extension of irrigation canals in the desert in the Coastal Zone of the Western Desert, Egypt. To understand the changes in the traditional social organization of this desert society, and how these social changes have affected families’ ability to adapt to external shocks such as the recent 15-year drought, we developed a typological approach to investigate the link between family livelihoods and social capital in Bedouin society. We showed a clear link between physical assets (mainly land and animals), the nature and intensity of social links within the traditional society, and level of education. The analysis revealed also some new wealth accumulation processes in link with the socio-political influence of urban zones and the increasing level of education in the zone.