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Title: Adapting to wealth : social change in a Yemeni highland community.
Author: Morris, Timothy Christopher John.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3424 8926
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 1985
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The thesis is based on field-work in 1981-1983 in a small, peripheral and once isolated, town in the western mountains of the Yemen Arab Republic. A population of nominally tribal sedentary cultivators is structurally divided into three endogamous groups. The effects of monetarisation, male labour migration to Saudi Arabia, the emergence of a modern republican state, the collapse of cereal production and growth in cultivation of gast, a popular Yemeni stimulant, are examined. New criteria by which townsmen assess each other are contrasted with existing ascriptive diacritics of status. The opening of the community and a burgeoning entrepreneurial ethos associated with a laisser-faire frontier economy have blurred what are still regarded as immutable boundaries. Extreme situational manoeuvrability allows expedient and contradictory performances in different arenas of power as the male population seeks to adopt a romanticised lifestyle associated with the Yemeni tribesman. The ebullient optimism spawned by an unexpected advent of prosperity takes little regard of the cosmetic nature of development in rural Yemen. New notions of individualism have led 'to an increase in the proportion of nuclear households, weakening of the web of kin solidarity and an erosion of communal spirit which has given the community a reputation as being demoralised and divided. The study complements a growing body of ethnographic literature on south-western Arabia, most of which is concerned with larger or more centrally located Yemeni communities. I believe it contributes to anthropological understanding of stratification and economic and social change in the contemporary Middle East and sheds more light on the, as vet little studied q effects of the mass movement of male labour from the resource--poor to the oil-rich Arab states.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Sociology