Prof. Dr. Annegret Nippa


Andreea Bretan, M.A.
Nadine Adam, M.A. (retired)


Other phases of research:


Project Group A: Frontiers and Transitions, Project A3

Land Use in the Syrian Steppes – Practice and Argument


The programme follows up a project of the first stage of the Collaborative Research Centre (SFB 586) that was conducted by Dr. Katharina Lange. Her research has been exploring the history of a tribe of small livestock herders in Syria.

The new project is shifting its focus to the present and to the use of the Syrian steppes. The access to the resources of pasture, water, routes and markets has always had to be negotiated between nomads, sedentary peasants and the state. In this, the co-existence of different legal systems is playing an important role until today. The national statute law appraises the conditions and claims differently from the orally transferred tribal law. Withal, these legal relationships are not necessarily standing in antagonistic positions one to the other. Rather, they form a "matrix" for the arguments of the parties by which these bring forward their claims. A new player in this arrangement are the International Developmental Institutions. Their advises for state and land users are basing on ecological observations as well as on political directions.

Our research is focusing on the co-action of the four players and the arguments and strategies employed for enforcing their demands. The game of the four powers takes place on different "stages" and is arranged on different settings: in private spaces, offices, assembly rooms, seldom at court. In this the different parties, the members and their personal interests can not be clearly confined – clear-cut borderlines exist merely on the categorical level.

The fieldwork will explore the processes that serve for the decision making inside of the respective groups as well as between them. The major topic of the study will then be the analysis of the discursive representations of nomadic and sedentary groups as well as of the national and international Institutions concerned.

Conflict loaded situations can be solved – this is what the long history of land use in the Syrian steppes shows us; but when it happens it is not the result of a mere input of money or power. Rather do the unequal partners achieve the balance of interests and claims through creative communication and permanent bargaining. This balance is indispensable for the social peace in the community.


PD Dr. Annegret Nippa

West-Himalaya – Christen und Buddhisten. In: Ethnographie und Herrnhuter Mission. Herrnhut 2003, 72–88.

Luxus auf dem Lande – Eine Reise in den Alltag der arabischen Welt. In: Leben unter dem Halbmond. Die Wohnkulturen der arabischen Welt. Weil am Rhein 2003, 128–167.

Forschen in Grauen Zonen und Weißen Flecken. Die Zeit der Expeditionen ist zu Ende. In: Orientale 1. Recherchen, Expeditionen, Handlungsreisen. Weimar 2001, 44–57.

Tugendreiche Männer – Beduinenforschung. In: G. Teichmann/G. Völger (eds.): Faszination Orient. Max von Oppenheim, Forscher, Sammler, Diplomat. Köln 2001, 140–175.

The Curious Mosque of Gabral Jaba, Swat-Kohistan. Reading the Drawings of Robert Powell. In: M. Oppitz (ed.): Robert Powell. Himalayan Drawings. Zürich 2001, 77–90.

with P. Herbstreuth: Eine kleine Geschichte der Synagoge aus dreizehn Städten. Hamburg 1999.