According to the Wikipedia article Bedouins travel together in groups of 1-2 family units however in the same article it mentions the presence of a tribe who share common descent and are led by a Shaikh, given that they are nomads and don't travel as an entire tribe, how would they have exercised tribal governance before the advent of widely-available communications technology? For example: how would they locate a specific member if such a need arose? Or how would they all gather if the Shaikh had need for them (war for example)?

  • 3
    I wonder if the real question is "How did Bedouins exercise tribal governance?".
    – MCW
    Mar 26, 2013 at 12:15
  • Why is this past tense? Bedouins are still around.
    – T.E.D.
    Mar 27, 2013 at 12:20
  • I'm referring to Bedouins before the advent of widely available communications technology, I will add this to the question. Mar 27, 2013 at 12:41

1 Answer 1


Bedouin refers to people who make their living by means of stock raising, specifically on the marginal steppe lands not suited to sedentary agriculture. Their characteristic behavior is to take their family and belongings with them whenever they need to move their flocks to different pasture.

This change of pasture is seasonal, and follows a pattern which leads the bedouin to an annual migration between a series of locations where the family groups can congregate; there is usually one site and time each year where the water and pasture can support a larger gathering, where a greater portion of the tribe can get together. This is often the time for celebrations and marriages.

The point is that the nomadic life-style is marked by regular, seasonal movements - it does not include aimless wandering.

For in depth information on bedouin see this.

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