Pamela Labib, MESc

2010 TRI Fellow in Egypt

Environmental identity, ecosystem productivity and land cover change in the Eastern Desert Red Sea Region, Egypt

This research examines the different forms of power that have transformed the social and physical landscape of Egypt’s Eastern Desert Red Sea Coast. Pervasive state-led tourism rhetoric has rendered the landscape an unpopulated, barren, and unproductive land, leaving tourism as the sole productive activity. This area was historically inhabited by nomadic pastoralists, but over the last two decades has seen rapid coastal tourist developments and state interventions. By exploring the relationships of nomadic pastoralists to power and their acts of resistance to the state and tourism this study attempts to answer the larger question of where and how is power constituted and shaped by the biophysical and social landscape. Nomadic pastoralists represent the point atwhich the tension between the power that produces conceptual and material space and the biophysical and social space that produces power occurs. In other words, state and tourism power produce a conceptual space such that its effects are able to reshape the landscape, but are always constrained by the biophysical and social surrounding. Nomadic pastoralists become that point of tension mainly through their acts of resistance to the recent changes in their livelihoods. I use three lines of questioning to depict the complex relationship between the abstract and material relations of power on Egypt’s Red Sea Coast: 1. What constitutes nomadic pastoralist agency? 2. What are the different forms of power that are shaping the material and symbolic, social and biophysical space? 3. What are nomadic pastoralists’ acts of resistance to changes in the physical and social space?