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Volume 11, Issue 1.
National identity in the Arab world is a tenuous concept, often intertwined with and overshadowed by social and cultural allegiances. The Al-Saud family, rulers of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, have managed to unite the disparate religious and ethnic elements of their society - at least they have united them enough to forge a functioning nation-state. ... read moreBut not all Saudi subjects accept the Al-Saud's kingdom as synonymous with their own concept of a true national identity. Frederick W. Weston, III traces the history of the Al-Saud's efforts at state-building and concludes that national identity is still an unresolved question for the kingdom. Modernization has strengthened allegiance to the nation but weakened allegiance to the state (the Al-Saud) among the emerging middle class; this has potentially serious implications for the ruling family's political legitimacy.