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Of Sand or SoilGenealogy and Tribal Belonging in Saudi Arabia$
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Nadav Samin

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780691164441

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691164441.001.0001

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The Dark Matter of Tribal Belonging

The Dark Matter of Tribal Belonging

(p.53) Chapter Two The Dark Matter of Tribal Belonging
Of Sand or Soil

Nadav Samin

Princeton University Press

This chapter investigates Najdi historiography from a genealogical perspective in order to elucidate how and why central Arabian genealogies were documented from the eighteenth through the twentieth century. It considers how Saudi bedouin and settled populations conceived of their kinship relations through their own eyes and through the eyes of Western travelers. It also discusses the caste-like status hierarchies that existed in central Arabia before the modern period, hierarchies rooted in Arabian political culture, and how the emergence of these hierarchies in modern Saudi history represents an important transition in the kingdom's social and cultural life. Finally, it examines the beginnings of modern genealogical culture in Saudi Arabia and suggests that the documenting of lineages and their mass circulation in print helped transform Saudi genealogies from reflexive components of social and political life into coveted objects of modern Saudi identity.

Keywords:   kinship, Najd, Arabian genealogies, bedouin populations, settled populations, political culture, lineages, political life, Saudi identity, genealogical culture

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