Driving in the middle of the road: Paradoxes of women’s role under the New Saudi Arabian Nationalism

40 | 2019

Luiza Cerioli

Center for Near and Middle Eastern Studies (CNMS), Philipps-Universität Marburg, Alemanha
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3650-8378

King Salman and prince Mohammad bin Salman yearn to shift Saudi Arabia away from oil dependency via the project Vision 2030, which includes a set of liberalisations for women, such as legalisation of driving and economic empowerment. Topics related to women have been a taboo to Saudi society; thus, it is interesting to understand their role in these reforms and their negotiation of rights within the state. I argue that these reforms are not politically liberalising, as they do not rearrange the patriarchal structure. Moreover, they walk in line with a top-down nationalist project that excludes and arrests, among others, female activists that previously fought for the right to drive, stressing the limitations on women’s freedom under Salman’s rule.

Keywords

Saudi Arabia, international status, Vision 2030, nationalism, autocratic liberalization

DOI: https://doi.org/10.22355/exaequo.2019.40.04
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Direitos de autor: Creative Commons – CC BY NC