Inverting the lens: insider photography by the Manaja’a family, Humayma, Jordan




Gordon Lanning, Robbyn Ellen Lorraine

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In this thesis, I assert that photographs of Jordanian Bedouin produced by cultural insiders disrupt and challenge pan-Bedouin and romantic photographic constructions of Bedouin made by cultural outsiders. These outsiders, Western ethno-photographers and members of the Jordanian Hashemite monarchy, use photographs featuring visual symbols of Bedouin identity in order to legitimise claims to land, resources, and cultural capital. Data produced from collaborative action research (the creation of photography with a self-identifying Bedouin family from Humayma, Jordan) demonstrates an increasingly complex version of Jordanian Bedouin identity absent from outsider representations. This nuanced picture of Bedouin identity, while limited by its focus on a single family, may help contribute to further collaborative investigations of Bedouin identity in Jordan. This research has the potential to assist in the better understanding of the diverse social practices and concerns of Bedouin living in Jordan today.



Bedouin, photography, ethnography, identity, Jordan, Howeitat, Hashemite, self-representation, collaborative research, expressive photography