The nineteenth issue of Omran, the ACRPS Arabic language journal devoted to the social sciences, was published in February, 2017. Many of the articles focus on the theme of the tribe. The abstracts are available in English below, while full text versions are available in Arabic through our electronic bookstore.


Omran 19: Abstracts


Emic and Etic in Re-theorizing “Tribe”: a Step toward an Arab Anthropological Discourse, Abdallah Hammoudi

Tribal “Belonging” Today: Implications and Transformations, Dale F. Eickelman

Lamalmin in Beidane Tribal Society, by Salah Eddine Rguibi

History of the Political Usage of Local Tribal Identity in Iraq: State and Sheikhs Serving Each Other, by Karim Hamza

The Structure of the Mind and the Trifunctional Theory of Georges Dumézil, by Yassine Yahyaoui

Protest in Morocco: Dynamic of Struggle and Transformation, bt Elhabib Stati Zineddine

Émique, by Jean-Pierre Olivier De Sardan


Emic and Etic in Re-theorizing “Tribe”: a Step toward an Arab Anthropological Discourse
Abdallah Hammoudi

The aim of this article is twofold. The first is to reconsider a phenomenon that has been neglected or marginalized by nationalist thought and the postcolonial critique in anthropology: tribe and tribalism in the Maghreb- Machreq region .The second is an experiment in how to produce a new discourse in anthropology which results from a confrontation between the epistemic tradition of that discipline on the one hand, and the epistemic tradition of that region on the other hand. This is one response – admittedly limited and tentative - to a lament frequently formulated by writers from the region: "how come we are powerless at developing knowledge from our own tradition"?


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Tribal “Belonging” Today: Implications and Transformations

Dale F. Eickelman

Tribes, clans, and extended families affect — positively and negatively, overtly and subtly — the social systems of the countries and regions of which they are a part. We identify areas and issues for deeper focus and provide examples from contemporary Middle Eastern and other societies in which tribes significantly or uniquely impact the social and political order. Tribes, the idea of tribe, and public genealogies of the elite, sometimes considered vestiges of earlier social orders of declining importance, have adapted to modern social conditions and have far-reaching implications.


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Lamalmin in Beidane Tribal Society

Salah Eddine Rguibi

Despite significant advances in the study of the social structure of the Beidan, knowledge of the lamalmin(2) (craftsmen) remains relatively modest. This paper attempts to rectify this gap by highlighting some problematic issues related to the origins of the Beidan craftsmen, who over the ages have formed one of the components of the Saharan tribal society. It also considers the problems raised by the categorizations that they have been subject to. The paper concludes that the Lamalamin, in as much as they formed a virtually closed class, had also a relationship with Bedouin Saharan tribal society that determined their social origins. The findings thus reveal how social status, can sometimes go beyond the constraints of genealogy and profession.


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History of the Political Usage of Local Tribal Identity in Iraq: State and Sheikhs Serving Each Other

Karim Hamza

The strained bipartite relationship between the state and the tribes has formed since the mid-19th century, an important part of Iraq’s modern socio-political history. In this study, the author hypothesizes that these relations have continued through the dual process of conflict and cooperation and the tension between modernization and tradition. The state failed to make progress in the integration of groups with subcultures and to create a unified political culture. Modernizing institutions such as education and the army, as well as the tyranny of the sheikhs and the poverty of the countryside, helped to bring about the partial disintegration of the tribal structure. This did not, however, entirely do away with the pattern of tribal thinking, rather tribal culture permeated the cultural fabric in numerous guises and managed to embellish its slogans through the party and the sect.


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The Structure of the Mind and the Trifunctional Theory of Georges Dumézil

Yassine Yahyaoui

Georges Dumézil, the French philologist, historian, and sociologist, is considered to be one of the leading thinkers of the modern period. His work led to an intellectual leap forward in the understanding of ancient history, particularly Indo-European history, and opened up new horizons for the study of the human mind based on an approach that mixed philology, history, and the sociology of religion. Using this approach, he dealt with the ideas and religious beliefs of the Indo-European people in unprecedented detail. Dumézil made comparative mythology topical again after it had gone through a period of stagnation due to research put forward by Friedrich Max Müller. This paper looks at the main stages in the development of Dumézil’s theory which culminated in the trifunctional structure.


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Protest in Morocco: Dynamic of Struggle and Transformation

Elhabib Stati Zineddine

The 1990s protest movement in Morocco expresses the degree of coexistence achieved by political and social activists, their renouncement to violence and acceptance of divergence in political action, and their demand for alternation of power. In 1998, with the government change, Moroccans defended their right to participate in the public sphere and protested the failure of government social policy to achieve the desired development. In 2011, thanks to the dynamism of the Moroccan February 20 movement, they were able to achieve a certain level of constitutional and political change, after the wider Arab Spring Movement. Equally, the political regime demonstrated a notable strategic intelligence, through its constant ability for gradual opening, the organization of periodic appeasement gestures and signaling its intent for revision, reform, and change where needed.



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Jean-Pierre Olivier De Sardan
To explore “the native point of view,” and to think as much as possible as local actors do, remain the central concern of the anthropologist. Emic is the technical suffix that covers popular or local representations and discourse, while etic designates external and observational data, or the researcher’s interpretation. The linguist Pike was the first to elaborate this opposition, that was introduced later into anthropology (and "hardened") by Harris. A huge polemic opposed then “eticists” (like Harris) and emicists (as the interpretativists), but it died from its own excesses. Today more subtle distinctions are needed. For instance, to distinguish different levels in the emic register, and to explore how to access local meanings empirically.


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