The Tale of Modernity in Saudi Arabia

Publishing House: Arab Cultural Center

Publication Year: 2005

Genre: Criticism

Number of Pages: 304

In “The Tale of Modernity in Saudi Arabia,” Abdullah Al-Ghathami presents a personal and insightful account of the evolution of modernity within a traditionally conservative Saudi society. The book delves into the unique dynamics of a society where conservatism is not just a self-chosen trait but an expected and demanded one, both within the Arab and Islamic contexts. The prevalent perception in the Arab and Muslim world is that Saudi Arabia epitomizes conservatism, often leading to the assumption that modernity could flourish anywhere but there. Al-Ghathami challenges this notion, illustrating that even the staunchest proponents of modernity in the Arab world may engage in what they perceive as a sacred struggle to prevent Saudi society from embracing modernity.

Al-Ghathami sheds light on examples of Arab writers and thinkers who lived in Saudi Arabia and actively participated in opposing the modernity movement within the country. He explores this phenomenon thoroughly in his book, suggesting a seemingly predestined relationship between Saudi society and its conservative nature, evident both in its historical records and the image it projects.

Drawing from his extensive artistic and well-acknowledged experience both within and outside of Saudi Arabia, Al-Ghathami narrates the story of modernity as he witnessed and experienced it. He situates himself as a central figure in the conflicts and debates surrounding this transformation.

“The Tale of Modernity in Saudi Arabia” is not just a historical account; it’s a reflection of Al-Ghathami’s personal journey through the evolving landscapes of culture and thought in Saudi Arabia. It’s an exploration of the tension between traditional values and the forces of modernity, revealing the complexities and nuances of a society in transition. The book serves as a crucial contribution to understanding how modernity is perceived and manifested in a context that is often seen as resistant to change. Through his narrative, Al-Ghathami invites readers to reconsider their preconceptions about Saudi society and its relationship with modernity, offering a perspective that blends personal experience with cultural analysis.

Read More About Abdullah Al-Ghathami

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