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Contesting the Saudi State
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Book description

The terms Wahhabi or Salafi are seen as interchangeable and frequently misunderstood by outsiders. However, as Madawi al-Rasheed explains in a fascinating exploration of Saudi Arabia in the twenty-first century, even Saudis do not agree on their meaning. Under the influence of mass education, printing, new communication technology, and global media, they are forming their own conclusions and debating religion and politics in traditional and novel venues, often violating official taboos and the conservative values of the Saudi society. Drawing on classical religious sources, contemporary readings and interviews, Al-Rasheed presents an ethnography of consent and contest, exploring the fluidity of the boundaries between the religious and political. Bridging the gap between text and context, the author also examines how states and citizens manipulate religious discourse for purely political ends, and how this manipulation generates unpredictable reactions whose control escapes those who initiated them.

Reviews

‘This is an extraordinarily interesting and highly nuanced book, a welcome relief from the conventional journalistic banalities about 'Islam' and 'Saudi Arabia' which substitute for proper analysis in the media, or even on some of the lower foothills of academia.’

Peter Sluglett - University of Utah, Salt Lake City

'… the book is essential reading to understand the medley of tensions buzzing away in a society that remains so opaque to outsiders. A hundred years ago the Raj was able to shape our conceptual vocabulary and succeeded in associating Wahhabism with malevolence. Today we have a better understanding of hegemonic discourses and can be wary of the traps.'

Source: Salaam

'… even when her book deals with relatively worn ground, the perspective she takes allows new insights. … Contesting the Saudi State succeeds admirably, and deserves the widest possible readership.'

Source: www.saudidebate.com

'… it is a thought-provoking effort, which will interest all those who want to study the role of Saudi Arabia in the regional or international context.'

Ather Zaidi Source: Islamic Studies

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