Date of Award

Fall 2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Harvey Feit


Petra Rethmann



Committee Member

Virginia Aksan


There are two central themes to this thesis. Firstly, it shows how the adoption of people-centered and greening development paradigms, designed to improve mainstream development problems of the late 20th century, continue to produce unsatisfactory and unsustainable results for intended beneficiaries in the 21st century. Secondly, it shows how the “intended beneficiaries” use their experiences and their knowledge of the development processes to analyze, explain and voice why it has not worked for them. Their local knowledge illustrates how beneficiaries continue to remain on the “outside” or peripheral to development instead of being equal partners as the people-centered discourse claims.

This thesis reviews the development of the Wadi Rum Protected Area (WRPA) in southern Jordan. This development fostered both conservation and tourism projects to assist members of the seven local Bedouin communities or clans whose historical rangelands constitute the protected area. Four significant development decisions and projects are examined to better understand how this development functioned. Many Bedouin commentaries and those of some non-Bedouin involved in the projects provide social, economic and environmental assessments of the protected area's progress over a ten year continuum. What emerges is a nuanced awareness of how the WRPA has not achieved its stated goals or the benefits promised to the Bedouin, but did support other developers', lenders' and government objectives. Bedouin knowledge also highlights how “development” has contributed to a near dissolution of their control over what had been their tourism industry, how it has usurped their control of their lands and villages, how the project has created greater divisiveness between and within the clans and how it has come to support the growth of tourism over environmental protection. In general, the development of the Wadi Rum Protected Area has not achieved its people-centered and green goals.

McMaster University Library

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