Home Institution

Gordon College

Publication Date

Spring 2017

Program Name

Jordan: Geopolitics, International relations, and the Future of the Middle East



This exploratory study aims to answer the basic question of why the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan appears to be without homelessness. A developing nation coping with economic, ecological, and geopolitical instability has somehow managed to create a society where homelessness seems to not exist. The study begins with a review of literature on homelessness and theory in order to conceptualize this complex issue, followed by a review of data on homelessness in developing countries, and an overview of the Islamic thought on poverty. The guiding theory of this research is social collectivism and how Jordan fits into this cooperative framework. The researcher hypothesizes: first, that Jordanian culture is collectivist and creates sympathy for the homeless; second, that this collectivism derives from Jordan’s Islamic heritage; and third, that these cultural and religious components generate a network of organizations and government programs that effectively house the homeless. The significance of this study is due to the ubiquity and obduracy of homelessness in both developing and developed countries worldwide, while Jordan appears to be uniquely free of the problem. Interviews were conducted with individuals with respective expertise in culture, religion, NGOs, and government staff to get a thorough understanding of the topic. A survey was also conducted to lend public opinion to the study. In conclusion, the Jordanian government and Islam have little to do with the actual reasons why homelessness doesn’t exist. Rather, the familial/tribal culture motivates Jordanians to make sure none of their family or tribe goes without the basic necessity of housing, and the social theory needed to fully conceptualize this social structure does not yet exist. This research adds dimension to the study of global homelessness by detailing the rare case of its elimination, and by revealing a major paucity of social theory for understanding atypical societies.


Near Eastern Languages and Societies | Sociology


Article Location