The relaxation of social norms in Saudi Arabia has proved to be both emboldening and disorienting.
Non-Resident Fellow, AGSIW; Visiting Fellow, European Council on Foreign Relations
Eman Alhussein is a non-resident fellow at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington. She is a visiting fellow with the Middle East and North Africa program at the European Council on Foreign Relations. She previously worked as a research fellow at the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Her research focuses on Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region. Alhussein’s areas of interest include identity and nationalism, gender, cultural and societal change, and religious discourse and reforms.
Alhussein holds an MA in Gulf studies from the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter. She completed her bachelor’s degree at the American University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. She is currently based in Oslo, Norway.
Recent changes to Saudi Arabia’s school curriculum emphasize loyalty to the state and national identity, incorporating pre-Islamic history into the Saudi national narrative.
The regulations introduced to travel and civil status laws will limit the state’s ability to intervene in the private sphere.
The growing closeness between China and Saudi Arabia sheds some light on similar structural features and sociopolitical trends that have emerged in both countries, particularly the rise of parallel feminist mobilizations.
The Saudi government is moving forward steadfastly with its social modernization project, but the new policies are clashing with established norms, creating inconsistencies and uncertainties in social spaces.
For decades, the religious establishment in Saudi Arabia succeeded in maintaining a homogenous religious discourse.