GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

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Title of Paper:
The Arabs Spring and Saudi Arabia: the Revolution and Revolutionary Potential
Paper Proposal Text :
The aim of this study is to analyze the potential of a future Saudi version of the Arab Spring. This is through examining deeply a number of related demographic and soci-economic variables and indicators. While it is recognizable that there is no country is fully immune of political instability, including revolutions, it is recognizable as well that societies vary from each other on the way they express their aspirations of reforming, or even changing, the political structure that governs them, depending on complex related factors. In particular, monarchies throughout the Arab World have been historically characterized by their softer approach vis-à-vis non-violent demands and movements. With many potentially destabilizing political and socio-economic factors in Saudi Arabia, it is vital to ask the question that in which way the kingdom will preserve such soft approach, and whether it will develop a comprehensive strategy to engage with such societal demand and movements. In a broader sense, this study will contribute to the analysis of the present and future state-society relations in the kingdom.

This study will be divided into two parts. The first will measure the impact of the Arab Spring on Saudi society and government. This will be done through taking into consideration a number of demographic (50% to 80% of the total population of Saudi Arabia is under 30 year old), socio-economic (such as poverty and urbanization), and social media (there are 6 million Facebook users and 3,5 million twitter users in the kingdom) factors.

The second part will evaluate the potential of transforming these demographic, socio-economic, and social media factors into destabilizing political movement in the kingdom. This part will draw on and develop Azmi Beshara's essay "On Revolution and the Revolutionary Potential". Furthermore, this part will examine the value of some of the recent political developments in the kingdom, such as the municipality elections and the nomination of women into Majles Alshoura.
Selected Bibliography:
Azmi Beshara, On the revolution and the ability to revolt, Arab center to research and policy studies, Qatar, 2012
Jean-Pierre Filiu,. The Arab Revolution: Ten Lessons from the Democratic Uprising (Comparative Politics and International Studies), Oxford University Press, USA,2011
Marc Lynch,. The Arab Uprising: The Unfinished Revolutions of the New Middle East , , PublicAffairs; First Trade Paper Edition edition,2009
Riedel, B.O. (2011). “Saudi Arabia: The Elephant in the Living Room.” In: Pollack, K. et al. (eds.), The Arab Awakening: America and the Transformation of the Middle East. (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, 159-167).
Sager, Abdulaziz. (2011) “Reform or Pay the Price.” The Washington Post, April 24.
SUSRIS (2011). Interview with Theodore Karasik (ENEGMA). August 1.
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