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Changed Identities: Challenge of the New Generation in Saudi Arabia Paperback – May 1, 2000

5 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Paperback, May 1, 2000
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About the Author

Mai Yamani is an independent academic. She was previously a visiting scholar at Carnegie Middle East Center, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution, and research fellow at the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House).


Product Details

  • Paperback: 170 pages
  • Publisher: Royal Institute for International Affairs/Chatham House (May 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 186203088X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1862030886
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,422,374 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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...have become the object of much ill-informed speculation among those who study the Kingdom from the outside." And not just the baby-boom generation, Ms. Yamani could add!

Mai Yamani has undertaken a thoughtful and balanced sociological study of Saudi youth, in the 15 to 30 age bracket. Her work is based on extensive interviews with approximately 75 Saudis, males and females. In an appendix she specifies her fieldwork methodology. As a woman, she was naturally able to interview other women; all but two men, and these two were hard-core fundamentalists, agreed to meet with her face to face. She does not specify why she selected certain categories, be they Royals, intellectuals, middle class or radical salafis (fundamentalists) but I felt that she got the proportions just about right to merit the "this is a representative sample" label. Her book was written in 2000, one year before the events of 9-11, which would profoundly shake the Kingdom, and lead to a transformation in its relationship with the West, particularly the United States. Starting in the year 2000, and for several years thereafter, there were numerous terrorist attacks in the Kingdom, and this work clearly depicts the discontent that served as a basis for at least the passive support for such activity.

Few societies have so experienced "Future Shock," to use Toffler's phrase, as the Saudis have. The rate of change may be a magnitude greater than for contemporary Western societies, as the country was transformed from one of the poorest and less developed countries, to one with a modern physical and economic infrastructure.
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