If you have any opinions / knowledge / experience with this, please help me out at this point in my thesis with your comments:

What do you think when you hear the word 'wasta'? What is the essence of this middle eastern concept?

Also, if you're working on this or similar stuff (patron-client relationships, conflict resolution with third-party involvement...), please feel free to contact me. I'm not an anthropologist by background and am looking for inspiration :)

Thanks!


Ekkardt 

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The Inadan of northern Nigeria and Niger serve this function for their Taureg overlords. They take care of things for them, acting as intermediaries. They help arrange marriages and arrange for music at weddings and for circumcisions to be performed. They are a little feared because of their antiquity and the belief that they have magical powers, perhaps because they do their metal work out in the desert. They speak a secret language called TNT. If you can find a National Geographic Magazine from August 1979, there are excellent pictures of the Inadan and more information on them. They claim to be related to David, son of Jesse.

Ekkardt said:
Interesting, I've never heard of that. Can you expand on that a bit?
I hv found this exert quite interesting on WASTA.
widespread practice related to business ethics is what in spoken eastern Arabic is called wasta (Cunningham and Sarayrah, 1993), or in spoken Hebrew protektzia (Danet, 1989). While the concept of wasta is much broader than that of protektzia I use it here in the more narrow sense of pulling strings, nepotism or using an interceder to obtain a benefit or to speed a process ? usually in relation to authorities. In their excellent discussion of the wasta system, Cunningham and Sarayrah (1993, p. 3) note that "understanding wasta is key to understanding decisions in the Middle East, for wasta pervades the culture of all Arab countries and is a force in every signif icant decision." Family loyalty remains the foun.....
Business Ethics in the Middle EastAuthor(s): Dove IzraeliSource: Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 16, No. 14, Region: and Country-Related Reports onBusiness Ethics (Oct., 1997), pp. 1555-1560Published by: SpringerStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25073023Accessed:
Yes, that's the book which initially got me going on the topic and it's also the reason why I asked if wasta in your mind has anything to do with conflict mediation. Cunningham and Sarayrah say it does, but if I ask around here in Amman nobody seems to agree anymore. I wasn't aware of protekzia though, that's really interesting. There's also a Chinese concept called guanxi that's similar.
There is an element of this in Spanish cultures also. It is called "el enchufo." It come from the verb enchufar, which means to be plugged in (as an electrical cord is plugged to the energy source.) It is how people get noticed for promotions, make connections with people who can help them get a job, get something done, etc.

Ekkardt said:
Yes, that's the book which initially got me going on the topic and it's also the reason why I asked if wasta in your mind has anything to do with conflict mediation. Cunningham and Sarayrah say it does, but if I ask around here in Amman nobody seems to agree anymore. I wasn't aware of protekzia though, that's really interesting. There's also a Chinese concept called guanxi that's similar.

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