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Society of Saudi Arabia

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Crown Prince Abdullah taking part in a traditional bedouin dance “Ardha” in Riyadh on 02 March 2005. Photo: AMMAR ABD RABBO / AFP

With the spectacular growth of the oil sector, the Saudi Arabian society experienced sweeping changes after World War II. The outward manifestation thereof is impressive yet misleading. In many ways, Saudi society has remained starkly conservative. The religious establishment, traditionally closely aligned to the Al Saud, ensures that this remains the status quo.

Further Reading

Saudis are either descendants of tribes and clans from the Arabian Peninsula or immigrants who arrived in Saudi Arabia in past centuries through pilgrimage or trade. Some immigrants arrived in Saudi Arabia through marriage to nati...
Saudi women make up about 49 percent of the total population. They live in patriarchal and male-centred societies. Traditionally, women have held an inferior position in Saudi society, restricted to the home and marital duties.
The youth of Saudi Arabia represents the largest demographic group in Saudi Arabia, with more than 37 percent of the total population below the age of fourteen, 51 percent below the age of 25, and two-thirds below the age of 29.
In 2012, Saudi Arabia's public education system included 24 universities and some 25,000 schools, as well as many colleges and other institutions. The system is open to all citizens and provides students with free education, books...
ver the past few decades, one striking effect of Saudi development has been rapid urban migration. In the early 1970s, an estimated 26 percent of the population lived in urban centres. In 1990 that figure rose to 73 percent. The c...
The growing life expectancy in recent years shows that the overall burden of disease has reduced markedly, with a large drop in the mortality and morbidity from communicable diseases and a huge drop in maternal mortality.
There were Gulf regional traditions of civil society in Saudi Arabia before the arrival of large-scale oil income. Since then, the state has taken over many welfare functions and has generally prevented independent social organiza...
Although the Saudi Arabian government does not provide crime data, non-violent street crime has increased in recent years.
State-backed religious clerics have defended the guardianship system, arguing that it is rooted in a Koranic verse. But Saudi Islamic feminists and other religious scholars criticize the interpretation, claiming that nowhere in sh...
The Saudi ambitions face a well-known reality: the rigidity of a society and authorities raised and existing only for the sake of preserving religion against ‘sin’ or ‘temptation to sin’. Once again, MBS’ ambitions and t...

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