Negotiating authenticity and translocality in Oman: The “desertscapes” of the Harasiis tribe

Dawn Chatty

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Recent decades have seen the government of Oman increase its efforts to negotiate a static and temporal authenticity and sense of belonging for the nation. Much effort has gone into creating a broadly homogenised “national identity”. However, the central desert of Oman, in particular the Jiddat-il-Harasiis, has been the site of some contestation. The desert-dwelling, largely mobile, tribal camel-and goat-herding community has seen its claims of authenticity and belonging to the landscapes of the desert contested as various government agencies make efforts to settle them, move them off this particular landscape and turn them into cheap day labourers. Yet for the Harasiis nomadic pastoral tribe of Oman, mobility has been the principle feature of their livelihood, previously focussed on camel transport and latterly on trucks. These translocal pastoral people, however, have used modern technology-particularly vehicles-to maintain their claims to the desert landscape not only of Oman but also across the modern borders to neighbouring countries. This paper examines the contestation around multiple belongings and authenticity in the building of the Omani nation and explores the ways the Harasiis have negotiated their claims of authenticity in relation to the translocal “desertscapes” of this corner of South East Arabia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationRegionalizing Oman
Subtitle of host publicationPolitical, Economic and Social Dynamics
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9789400768215
ISBN (Print)9789400768208
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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