chapter  4
21 Pages

They’re Here to Stay: Tribes and power in contemporary Jordan

ByJordan Eleanor Gao

When the British arrived in what was then TransJordan in 1921, they found a society organised into a number of di erent tribes. Having been mostly left alone by the Ottomans during their rule of the area, Jordanian tribes governed themselves and had also discovered ways to either co-exist with or dominate other tribes. Members depended on their tribe for protection, marriage arrangements, con ict resolution and social welfare. Without an overarching authority, it made sense that individuals turned to their tribes for assistance. By banding together, members could ensure collective security that they were unable to guarantee on their ownand at the same time, living together led to the development of social arrangements such as deference to sheikhs and the creation of particular mechanisms to settle the disputes that were characteristic of tribes at that time.