This book examines why tribal genealogies continue to be a central facet of modern Saudi identity despite the erosion of kinship ties resulting from almost 300 years of religious conditioning, and despite the unprecedented material transformation of Saudi society in the oil age. It considers what accounts for the compulsion to affirm tribal belonging in modern Saudi Arabia by focusing on verse 49:13 of the Quran and the multiple contexts in which it is embedded in the kingdom. More specifically, the book asks why this verse is interpreted by so many Saudis as a license to assert their particularist tribal identities, while its ostensibly equalizing final clause is dismissed as an afterthought. It also explores the politicization of the Arabian oral culture by documenting the life and work of the Arabian genealogist and historian Hamad al-Jāsir.
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