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The State as an Identity Racketeer: The Case of Saudi Arabia

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Although the close link between the Saudi state and the religious revivalist movement commonly known as “Wahhabism” is well known, little scholarly effort has been made to apply social or political theory to better interpret this relationship. This
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  The State as an Identity Racketeer: The Case of Saudi Arabia by Ben L.T.V. Rich, BA(Hons) Thesis Submitted by Ben L.T.V. Rich for the fulfilment of the requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy Supervisor: Dr. Benjamin MacQueen Co-supervisor: Dr. Pete Lentini Co-supervisor: Dr. Remy Davison School of Social Science Monash University November 2015    ii The united front is enforced by the feelings of individuals, by their conviction that their own security depends on the security of their state  –   Kenneth   Waltz, 1959  iii Contents   General Declaration vi Copyright Notice vii Abstract viii Acknowledgements ix Introduction 1 0.1 The importance of formative norms in subsequent state behaviour 4 0.2 Thesis Structure 4 0.3 A note on terminology 7 0.4 The Limitations of Theoretical Models 7 0.5 Conclusion 10 0.6 References 10 1. Going nowhere, meaning nothing: the absence of latent forces for statehood in a pre-Saudi Najd 12   1.1 Sources on Pre-Saudi Najd 15 1.2   Geographical and Climatic Conditions of Najd 17 1.3 Economy and Trade 18 1.4 Settlement Politics and Power Hierarchies 23 1.5 Bedouin Political Structures 27 1.6 Conclusion 33 1.7 References 34 2.   Religious Tension and Revivalism in Eighteenth-Century Najd 36 2.1 The Religious Conditions of Pre-Saudi Najd 37 2.2 Diversity and Pluralism in Sedentary Najdi Islam 38 2.3 Bedouin Religious Practices 40 2.4 Najdi Ulema  42 2.5 The Emergence of Najdi Revivalism 44  iv 2.6 Conclusion 53 2.7 References 55 3.   Securitising and Exploiting Intersubjectivity 57 3.1 Ontological Security 57 3.2 Ontological Security, Religious Nationalist Movements and Identity 63 3.3 Ontological Security in Early-Period Revivalism, 1744-1818 70 3.4 Violence as a Tool to Fulfil Ontological Security Demands 77 3.5 Dominating Non-Revivalists and Establishing Non-Religious Nationalist Ontological Systems 83 3.6 Conclusion 87 3.7 References 88  4.   State Racketeering and the Saudi Identity Racket 91 4.1 The State According Tilly 92 4.2 Multipolarism versus Unipolarism 94   4.3   Racketeering 98 4.4 Threat 101 4.5 Identity Racketeering 104 4.6 The Saudi Identity Racket as a Positive Feedback Loop 110 4.7 Conclusion 112 4.8 References 113 5.   Racketeering of the Second Saudi State (1824-1891) 115 5.1 Conditions facing the Second State 116 5.2 Imperial Threats and Racketeering 118 5.3 Pragmatic State Behaviour versus the Racket 126 5.4 Change and Continuity in the Second Racket 130 5.5 Conclusion 132 5.6 References 133 6.   Sedentarisation to Sectarianism: The Rise of the Third State, the Reinstitution of the Racket and the Ikhwān Revolt   134 6.1 A Second Resurgence 135 6.2 The Settlement of Najdi Bedouin and the Failed Racket 136 6.3 The State as an Enemy to Revivalism 140 6.4 Conclusion 145  v 6.5 References 146   7. Racketeering and Rentierism 148 7.1 Modernisation and the Racket 148 7.2 Buffering against External Ideology 155 7.3 The Neosecuritisation of the Shi’a  159 7.4 Paradoxes and Rejection 161 7.5 Conclusion 166 7.6 References 167 8. Saudi Responses to the Arab Spring 169 8.1 Modern Sources of Political Discontent inside the Kingdom 169 8.2 The Spring and Saudi Responses 172 8.3 Hard power, Security and Legal Strategies 175 8.4 Racketeering in the Spring 178 8.5 Conclusion 181 8.6 References 182  Conclusion 185 9.1   Racketeering and Future Security Issues 186 9.2 Racketeering as an Obstacles to Social and Political Reform 190 9.3 Conclusion: An Enduring, Robust System 194 9.4 References 197   Bibliography 199 Figures Figure 1: Ottoman holdings in the Arabian Peninsula in the decades immediately preceding the first Saudi state 23 Figure 2: Identity Racketeering as a Positive Feedback Loop 109  
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