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The Making of Jordan: Tribes, Colonialism and the Modern State

The Making of Jordan: Tribes, Colonialism and the Modern State (Paperback)

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Synopsis

At the beginning of the 20th Century Jordan, like much of the Middle East, was a loose collection of tribes. By the time of its independence in 1946 it had the most firmly embedded state structures in the Arab world. Drawing on previously untapped sources, Yoav Alon examines how the disparate clan networks of Jordan were integrated into the Hashemite monarchy, with the help of the British colonial administrators. Taking a grassroot perspective, Alon looks at how the weak state institutions introduced by the Ottomans developed in British-administered Jordan. He shows how these institutions co-opted the structures of tribal society, and produced a distinctive hybrid between modern statehood and tribal confederacy which still characterises Jordan to this day. Key figures emerge in the story of Jordan's transformation, such as John Glubb, the charismatic Arab Legion commander who perceived the power of the nomadic tribes and sought to harness it to imperial Britain's statebuilding agenda. Alon's innovative approach to the origins of modern Jordan provides fresh insights not only into Jordan itself but into colonialism, modernity and the development of the state in the Middle East.

Yoav Alon is a Lecturer in Middle Eastern History at the University of Tel Aviv.

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