From latent surplus to changing norms: Fertility behavior of the Israeli Bedouin along the nomadism-sedentarism continuum

A. Meir, Y. Ben-David

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Abstract

The Bedouin in southern Israel have been transformed from a semi-nomadic pastoral society to a semi-urban labor-market one. The economic value of their children has declined, generating a latent fertility surplus. The Bedouin have begun to adopt a fertility rationality which contains stronger secular-materialistic elements, and consequently an ideal of a smaller family size compared to the previous traditional large-family ideal. Lost control over children as producers of resources in terms of assistance in the provision of family needs as well as their becoming consumers of resources, together with a desire to maintain the achieved standard of living are responsible for these changes. Several indirect indications suggest that fertility behavior options commensurate with the emerging values are practiced, but these must still be substantiated by further research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)389-408+iii
JournalJournal of Comparative Family Studies
Volume26
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Dec 1995

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