The connective strategies of Bedouin women entrepreneurs in the Negev Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • The study examines various forms of entrepreneurship of the Negev Bedouin women, mostly within the urban settings, in order to determine strategies applied in their entrepreneurial development. The analysis is based on semi-structured interviews with 28 women entrepreneurs, interviews with representatives of institutions supporting entrepreneurship and on participatory observations. The research draws on existing ethnic entrepreneurship theories and the family-embeddedness perspective, which allows for consideration of the relation between economic processes and family system characteristics and transformations which occur simultaneously and have reciprocal impact. The Bedouin women entrepreneurs are found to operate mainly within their urban ethnic enclaves, whereby difficult economic conditions combined with gender pressures create a mostly informal sector that complements insufficiencies of the formal market. These women develop their businesses by applying specific patriarchal connectivity strategies, which were developed due to strong impact of familial factors, such as: transitions in family structure, accessibility to family financial and human resources, adherence to the social codes and values. The impact of the last factor is visible on two levels: gender-separation of economic activities and networks (products and services addressed to women and children) and different roles of male and female family members. Whereas female members become employees or assistants, the male members keep their patriarchal positions as protectors and facilitators between the social requirements and exigencies of the economic activities. The connective strategies of Bedouin women entrepreneurs aim strongly at fulfilling their social roles as women, mothers and wives within the patriarchal order and as such, they bridge the gap between the strategies that previously accommodated desert condition subsistence living and the exigencies of the market economy of their contemporary semi-urban desert environment.

publication date

  • January 1, 2018