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Economic And Social Organization

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explains various types of boundary drawing, which simultaneously created a sense of exclusion and inclusion. In considering stereotypical representations it has been shown that, while oasis identity was important, it did not always trump other types and levels of local identity. Just as modern identities cannot be reduced to ethnicity alone, boundaries between groups were drawn along religious, linguistic, residential, gender, social and economic lines in pre-socialist times; all of these were sources of identity formation. Two main themes emerge from the chapter. One is the multiplicity of loyalty ties, which constituted patterns of interaction within hierarchical social structure. The other theme embraces local know-how: designing irrigation canals, the social control of the water supply, the use of the hoe and the diverse symbolic meanings attached to it, even methods of bargaining may all be perceived as repositories of communal values and, as such, constituents of the ?commons?.

Keywords: economic organization; hierarchical social structure; irrigation canals; local identity; oasis identity; social organization



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