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Saudi Arabia in Transition
Insights on Social, Political, Economic and Religious Change

$35.99 (P)

Bernard Haykel, Thomas Hegghammer, Stéphane Lacroix, Gregory Gause, Toby Jones, Nabil Mouline, Giacomo Luciani, Steffen Hertog, David Commins, Saud al-Sarhan, Abd al-Aziz H. Al Fahad, Madawi al-Rasheed, Amélie Le Renard
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  • Date Published: January 2015
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521185097

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About the Authors
  • Making sense of Saudi Arabia is crucially important today. The kingdom's western province contains the heart of Islam, its two holiest mosques in Mecca and Medina, and it is the United States' closest Arab ally and the largest producer of oil in the world. However, the country is undergoing rapid change: its aged leadership is ceding power to a new generation, and its society, which is dominated by young people, is restive. Saudi Arabia has long remained closed to foreign scholars, with a select few academics allowed into the kingdom over the past decade. This book presents the fruits of their research as well as those of the most prominent Saudi academics in the field. The fifteen chapters in this volume focus on different sectors of Saudi society and examine how the changes of the past few decades have affected each. Many of the authors have conducted archival and fieldwork research in Saudi Arabia, benefitting from the recent opening of the country to foreign researchers. As such, the volume reflects new insights and provides the most up-to-date research on the country's social, cultural, economic and political dynamics.

    • Presents a multinational group of researchers featuring both Saudi and Western scholars
    • All the research in this book is based on interviews, fieldwork, and archival research on Saudi Arabia
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "After 9/11, Saudi officials opened the kingdom to western researchers, gambling that what professors in the west write about them poses no threat. Bernard Haykel and his co-editors have collected the best of the new work in one volume, and we are all smarter for it. Buy, read and assign it. You won’t be sorry."
    Robert Vitalis, University of Pennsylvania

    "Saudi Arabia is one of the most important and least understood places on earth - and this volume illuminates its inner workings across politics, economics and religion. The book will be indispensable for scholars and policy makers, and deeply fascinating for anyone who wants to understand the Kingdom beyond the headlines."
    Noah Feldman, Harvard Law School

    "The authors represent the all-star team of scholars of Saudi Arabia. Together, they have created a book full of fresh insights and novel perspectives. Even veteran Saudi watchers will find much new and valuable here."
    Jon B. Alterman, Senior Vice President, Brzezinski Chair in Global Security and Geostrategy and Director, Middle East Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies

    "Haykel, Hegghammer and Lacroix are amongst the world's most knowledgeable scholars of Saudi Arabia. Based on in-depth fieldwork, a perfect mastery of the language, cultures and history of the Kingdom, Saudi Arabia in Transition is a must read, particularly at a time when the oil monarchy is facing major challenges, both domestic, regional and international."
    Gilles Kepel, Sciences Po, Paris

    "Edited by three of the foremost experts on Saudi Arabia, this volume gathers together a wide range of research on how the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has both effected change and been affected by profound changes in the surrounding region."
    F. W, The Middle East Journal

    '… a good source of information and analysis for the general public and for specialists.' William Ochsenwald, Bustan: The Middle East book Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2015
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521185097
    • length: 357 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.52kg
    • contains: 22 b/w illus. 6 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction Bernard Haykel, Thomas Hegghammer and Stéphane Lacroix
    Part I. Politics:
    2. Rentier exceptionalism: oil and political mobilization in Saudi Arabia Gregory Gause
    3. The dogma of development: technopolitics and power in Saudi Arabia Toby Jones
    4. Enforcing the state's Islam: the functioning of the committee of senior scholars Nabil Mouline
    Part II. Oil:
    5. Saudi Arabia and the world oil market Giacomo Luciani
    6. The political economy of regional development in post-World War II Saudi Arabia Steffen Hertog
    7. Oil in Saudi Arabian culture and politics: from tribal poets to Al-Qaeda's ideologues Bernard Haykel
    Part III. Islam and Islamism:
    8. From Wahhabi to Salafi David Commins
    9. Understanding stability and dissent in the kingdom: the role of the jama'at in Saudi politics Stéphane Lacroix
    10. The struggle for authority: the Shaykhs of Jihadi-Salafism in Saudi Arabia, 1997–2003 Saud al-Sarhan
    11. 'Classical' and 'global' jihadism in Saudi Arabia Thomas Hegghammer
    Part IV. Social Change:
    12. Raiders and traders: a poet's lament of the end of the Bedouin heroic age Abd al-Aziz H. Al Fahad
    13. Rootless trees: genealogical politics in Saudi Arabia Abd al-Aziz H. Al Fahad
    14. Caught between religion and state: women in Saudi Arabia Madawi al-Rasheed
    15. Engendering Saudi consumerism: a study of young women's practices in Riyadh's shopping malls Amélie Le Renard.

  • Editors

    Bernard Haykel, Princeton University, New Jersey
    Bernard Haykel is a Professor of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University, where he teaches and researches the history and politics of Islam and the Arabian Peninsula. He has published Revival and Reform in Islam (2003) and various articles on Islamic law, Salafism and al-Qaeda, among other subjects. Professor Haykel currently directs Princeton's Institute for the Transregional Study of the Contemporary Middle East as well as its Oil, Energy and the Middle East Project. He has received numerous prizes, including a Carnegie Corporation Fellowship and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He appears frequently in print and broadcast media, including PBS, Al-Jazeera, BBC, NPR, and The New York Times.

    Thomas Hegghammer, Norwegian Defence Research Establishment
    Thomas Hegghammer is a senior research fellow at the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment in Oslo. He has held fellowships at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton and at Harvard, Princeton, New York and Stanford universities. His book Jihad in Saudi Arabia (2010) won the silver medal of the Arthur Ross Book Award from the Council of Foreign Relations. He also co-authored Al-Qaida in its Own Words (2008) and The Meccan Rebellion (2011). His many articles, reports and op-eds have appeared in journals and newspapers such as the American Political Science Review, International Security, the International Journal of Middle East Studies, the Times Literary Supplement and The New York Times.

    Stéphane Lacroix, Sciences Po, Paris
    Stéphane Lacroix is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Sciences Po, Paris and a research fellow at the Centre d'Études et de Recherches Internationales. Since 2010, he has also been an associate researcher at the Centre d'Études et de Documentation Economiques, Juridiques et Sociales, in Cairo. He is the author of Awakening Islam: The Politics of Religious Dissent in Contemporary Saudi Arabia (2011), named book of the year in 2011 on Foreign Policy's Middle East Channel. He also co-authored Al-Qaida in its Own Words (2008) and The Meccan Rebellion (2011). His articles have appeared in journals such as the Middle East Journal and the International Journal of Middle East Studies.


    Bernard Haykel, Thomas Hegghammer, Stéphane Lacroix, Gregory Gause, Toby Jones, Nabil Mouline, Giacomo Luciani, Steffen Hertog, David Commins, Saud al-Sarhan, Abd al-Aziz H. Al Fahad, Madawi al-Rasheed, Amélie Le Renard

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