Publication Date

Spring 2018

Program Name

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


This research aims to examine Jordanian attitudes towards the tribal law practice of Jalwa and its recent reform. The study specifically focuses on the role of modernization in shaping these attitudes. Historical literature and social constructivist theories are used to inform and contextualize this approach. To measure modernization’s impact, a two-dimensional framework was developed that compares opinions across generations (isolating change over time) and across region of upbringing (change over space). Subsequently, there are two hypotheses guiding this research. The first argues that youth see jalwa less favorably than the older generation and thus lend greater support to the reform. The second argues that citizens who grew up in urban areas see jalwa less favorably than those from rural areas, also making them more likely to support the reform. The results of this study do not support the first hypothesis but do support the second. These findings suggest that the impact of modernization in the context of jalwa reform may be more apparent across space than across time. The paper explores the significant practical and theoretical implications of these findings while taking into consideration underlying themes within the research. Ultimately, this study chronicles Jordan’s journey towards reconciling tribal traditions in the 21st century.


Family, Life Course, and Society | Near and Middle Eastern Studies | Race and Ethnicity | Social Control, Law, Crime, and Deviance


Article Location