The Middle Eastern Village: Changing Economic and Social Relations

Rapid and uneven change to the fabric of rural life is widespread in modern Middle Eastern countries. Modernisation, usually in the Western model, has often brought major improvements in agricultural technology, education and public health but has also had the effect of weakening the traditional rural economy of many villages and encouraging their growing dependence on external sources of income, most notably oil remittances. This collection of research on the Middle Eastern village looks at the impact on rural life and environment of such factors as the mass exodus of labour to urban centres, emigration, immigration, environmental change and the changing role of women in rural communities - particularly the wives of migrant workers who have to fill a new role in the family structure. State-sponsored agrarian policies have weakened the power of traditional landed interests and together with labour migration have provoked new tension and inequalities in rural society. The book makes clear that the pattern of change has been highly uneven and has served to heterogenise the countryside. As the oil states enter a period of recession and the likelihood of substantial return migration increases, rural communities will need to make further major adjustments and the book examines the tensions this new development is likely to produce. First published in 1987.