Pastoral livelihoods : changes in the role and function of livestock in the northern Jordanian Badia
This thesis considers the importance of livestock in the household economy of the Ahl al Jebel Bedouin in the arid Badia region of north east Jordan. The principal objective of the study is to provide development planners working within the Badia region with information on how livestock are used and valued within a pastoral society and indicate ways in which these values may be subject to change. The study demonstrates that Bedouin herdowners have responded purposefully to developing regional markets for livestock products and have identified the income and capital growth values of livestock investments. However, the study further suggests that in important ways production for market supply is closely bound with the management of household resources, notably production for domestic consumption and the two spheres of production constitute complimentary aspects of the pastoral livelihood strategy. It is further argued that pastoral production in the Badia is mediated by the prevailing Bedouin value system which ascribes non-material values to livestock, thus giving social meaning to the way in Which herd owners choose to manage their herds. The thesis argues that the relationship between herd owners and their livestock must necessarily be flexible and suggests that changes in the way in which livestock are valued may constitute an important element in how households respond to change. The study thus characterises the Ahl al Jebel herd management objectives as innovative and fluid, and indicates that approaches to pastoral development need to be more sensitive to household objectives and more supportive of indigenous innovation.