Accepted paper:

Bida' as a poetic form and social practice in the Bedouin society of the Negev desert

Authors:

Maxim Yosefi (Ben-gurion University of the Negev)

Paper short abstract:

Bida’ is a simple poetic form and a game at the same time. The contents of the verses reflect the changes that occur in the Bedouin society of the Negev and the influence of modern Israeli reality on the traditional poetry. It is interesting that the genre remains functional, while in general Bedouins’ poetic tradition in the Negev becomes extinct.

Paper long abstract:

In traditional tribal Arabic culture poetry used to be very functional almost in all life situations. Poetic texts served as an instrument of persuasion and psychological influence. For centuries tribal Arabs were using different poetic forms to send important messages, to describe and to explain the way, to keep information, to praise leaders, to ridicule enemies, to declare war and to make peace. In the regions where Bedouins continue to lead their ancestors' way of life they still find themselves in situations in which poetic texts are necessary to them in the same form and in the same social capacity in which they were needed for ages. That is why the set of genres and poetic forms correlates with the set of everyday practices. When any practice disappears, relevant genre or poetic form is being lost. Saving everyday social practice, people may save poetic form. In my paper I will explain this principal, giving as an example the case of bida' in the Bedouin society of the Negev desert. Bida' is a simple poetic form and a game at the same time. It is being used to entertain guests at the wedding celebrations and still keeps its importance as a social practice. I will show how the contents of the verses reflect the changes that occur in the Bedouin society of the Negev and the influence of modern Israeli reality on the traditional poetry.

panel MMM09
The emerging world of pastoralists and nomads (IUAES Commission on Nomadic Peoples)