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Keywords:

  • [abjection;
  • World Heritage;
  • global hierarchy of value;
  • Bedouin;
  • Yemen;
  • Soqotra Archipelago]

ABSTRACT

In Yemen's Soqotra Archipelago, during the years immediately preceding and following its inscription in 2008 as a UNESCO World Heritage site—and at a time when “Bedouinness” in much of the Arab world had been or was being elevated to a marketable heritage—Soqotran pastoralists spoke frequently of being Bedouin as a form of categorical abjection. Examining the work of these iterations, I argue that “Bedouin abjection” is a form of dialogic critique of the “global hierarchy of value” and an ironic assessment of the Soqotran pastoral present. I further assert that anthropologists must be attentive to the universal resonances of these abject articulations.