September 17, 2023

The Effect of Oil on Literature and Social Transformation

The Effect of Oil on Literature and Social Transformation

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A Locus for the Gulf’s Aspirations and Challenges

The oil industry is one of the most important sectors in the Gulf states. It has revolutionised the economy and social structures, and gained huge importance due to its impact on a variety of cultural aspects, including literature. Oil wealth has driven much of this change, prompting massive population growth, and developments in public services and infrastructure. In addition, the Gulf States have also seen corresponding shifts in lifestyle, values and social aspirations. However, this has led to the emergence of socio-economic gaps, and created new challenges. For example, consumption and luxury have become universal preoccupations, which has led to a change in values and an increased dependence on expatriate labour.

In the field of literature, the effects of oil are evident in several forms. Firstly, oil wealth has increased the ability of the Gulf States to support art and culture, and to finance literary projects. This means that cultural institutions, literary salons and literature prizes have started to appear, helping the renaissance and development of the Gulf arts scene. Secondly, oil wealth has constituted a source of inspiration for writers and poets, who have started exploring new topics, and chronicling their experiences and the changes in their communities. Thirdly, the social effect of oil has found its way onto the page. Many literary works now focus on exploring the relationship between society and the individual, and the resultant social tensions, along with issues such as identity, belonging, immigration, social conflicts and discrimination. This has led to changes in literary structures and the adoption of certain storytelling methods from other traditions.

Modern Gulf novels reflect society’s spirit, aspirations and challenges, and they help in forming a comprehensive vision for the region’s culture and heritage. As such, these works mark a substantial milestone for cultural communications inside the Gulf and with the outer world.

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