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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.
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