Consumers’ Monarchy: Citizenship, Consumption, and Material-Politics in Saudi Arabia Since the 1970s

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Abstract

In the wake of the oil boom that started in late 1973, a mass consumer society developed in Saudi Arabia. This chapter sets out to explore a period marked by unprecedented economic transition and surprisingly little socio-political change. Inspired by recent literature on Consumption Studies, the chapter introduces the notion of Saudi “citizen-consumers” to discuss the confluence of citizenship and state-sponsored consumption. It also follows the “material-politics” that allowed the indirect negotiation of a unique material modernization into Saudi society. The chapter argues for a path-dependent transformation, which enforced older socio-political hierarchies, while allowing mass consumer society to develop. The state's ability to sponsor consumption, and the seductive nature of consumption itself, enhanced this neo-conservative order creating a citizen consumer nexus that would be hard to break.
Original languageEnglish GB
Title of host publicationMuslim Societies in the Age of Mass Consumption
EditorsJohanna Pink
PublisherCambridge Scholars Publishing
Chapter5
Pages85-100
ISBN (Print)9781443814058
StatePublished - 2009

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