Ethnic business entrepreneurship among urbanising Bedouin in the Negev, Israel

Avinoam Meir, Ayelet Baskind

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The Bedouin of the Negev in Israel have been forced by the State to give up their agro-pastoral mode of subsistence, but were not offered any meaningful economic alternatives. Business has become one significant option. It is regarded here as 'ethnic entrepreneurship', as many traditional cultural and social traits are employed by them to survive within an entrepreneurial business environment that is highly constrained both externally and internally. This paper discusses the nature of these enterprises and entrepreneurs. A spatial and socio-tribal analysis reveals no differences in these entities between the planned towns and the unrecognised informal settlements outside towns, but considerable differences were found between the fellahin Bedouin and the 'true' Bedouin which compete latently for sociopolitical and economic hegemony. The process of ethnic entrepreneurship bears implications for sub-ethnic internal relationships, for the Bedouin struggle to protect land to which they claim ownership from the State, and for the broader issue of ethnicity and business within the Bedouin community.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-100
Number of pages30
JournalNomadic Peoples
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2006


  • 'true' Bedouin
  • Business environment
  • Ethnicity
  • Fellahin Bedouin
  • Land
  • Market economy
  • Traditional practices

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography


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