‘And never the twain shall meet’? The Western other in the Saudi novel and the contrastive construction of Saudi identity

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Abstract

This article examines the issue of the ‘other’ in the Saudi novel from the 1980s to 2000 against the background of the social changes taking place in Saudi Arabia. It is based on the reading of some thirty Saudi novels and offers a critical analysis of selected novels, based on the assumption that fictional-literary texts can serve as a valuable source for the understanding of various social processes. My main contention is that at the beginning of the period, the discourse towards the Western ‘other’ was very dichotomous and stereotypical, but over time changes in discourse could be identified that indicate developments in the perception of the ‘self’ versus the ‘other’ that reflected a dynamic dialogue between Saudi society and Western society. Later novels presented a more complex and genuine picture of East-West relations, and even served as a platform for internal criticism.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Middle Eastern Studies
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 British Society for Middle Eastern Studies.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • History
  • Earth-Surface Processes

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