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Saudi Arabia : Political Structure and Reforms
By Jajati K. Pattnaik

First Published : 2017
ISBN : 9788177084375
Pages : 190
Binding : Hardbound
Size : 5 x 9
Price : US$ 39

Tracing the historical background of Saudi Arabia, this book analyses political developments from a theoretical perspective by employing competing paradigms and conceptual categories evolved by the scholars from time to time. It tries to dissect the structural and operational matrix of the monarchical system caught between authoritarian clientelism and democratic symbolism.

Beset with a number of challenges, al-Saud regime has allowed controlled democratic space to contain the simmering opposition inside the Kingdom, drawing its legitimacy from religion and rentier politics. In this context, the Saudi experiment with democracy takes a departure from the universal principles of democracy—popular participation, individual liberty, justice, equity, transparency and accountability—and does not truly refract these principles through the prism of Islamic values.

Moreover, the limited democratic space created by the Saudi regime has been reinforced by regularization of the popular participatory process to build and consolidate structural mechanisms—Majlis al-Shura (legislature), the partially elected Municipal Councils and National Dialogue Sessions—for according institutional legitimacy to the al-Saud regime.

The author argues that the emerging political reality in Saudi Arabia is not so simple to understand and this book may help the reader appreciate the complex realities of Saudi politics and comprehend the challenges that inhibit the growth of a democratic system in the desert kingdom.

1. Political Development: A Theoretical Framework
1.1 Western Model of Political Development
1.2 Neo-liberal Paradigm and Political Development
1.3 Post-development Theory
1.4 Islam and Development
1.5 Human Development Paradigm and Political Development
1.6 Arab Human Development
2. The House of Saud
2.1 The First House of Saud
2.2 The Second House of Saud
2.3 The Third House of Saud
3. Political Structure
3.1 Monarchy (Malakiyya)
3.2 Royal Council (Ahl al-Aqd Wal-Hal)
3.3 Legislature (Majlis as-Shura)
3.4 Executive (Majlis al-Wuzara)
3.5 Judiciary (Quda)
4. Opposition and Political Reforms
4.1 Gulf War and Opposition
4.2 Islamist-Liberal Debate: Post-9/11 Period
4.3 Political Reforms
4.4 Arab Spring and its Impact
5. Al Saud Regime: A Prognosis
Appendix I: Basic Law of Government
Appendix II: Shura Council
Appendix III: Law of the Council of Ministers


Dr. Jajati K. Pattnaik is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science, Government Model Degree College, Jemi Notko, Roing, Arunachal Pradesh. He had earlier served in Indira Gandhi Government College, Tezu, Arunachal Pradesh (affiliated to Rajiv Gandhi University, Itanagar). He received M.Phil. and Ph.D. degrees from the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi. He was awarded the Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) by the University Grants Commission (UGC), New Delhi. He served as a Visiting Scholar at the Gulf Studies Programme, School of International Studies, JNU, and as Associate at the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies, Shimla.

Dr. Pattnaik has undertaken a research project sponsored by the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR), New Delhi. He has contributed a number of papers to edited volumes, journals, periodicals, national dailies and weeklies. He has attended and presented papers at various national and international seminars/conferences, and delivered lectures at universities/academic institutions of repute. His areas of interest include international relations and foreign policy of India with focus on West Asia and Cross Border Studies.

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