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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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Marriage and Lineal Authentication

Marriage and Lineal Authentication

(p.115) Chapter Four Marriage and Lineal Authentication
Of Sand or Soil

Nadav Samin

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines marriage patterns in Arabian history and how knowledge of these patterns became a key element of Saudi Arabia's modern genealogical culture. It begins with a review of new historical evidence from the central Arabian oasis town of al-Ghāt, which reveals the way marital patterns preserve knowledge about premodern status hierarchies. It then considers Hamad al-Jāsir's use of marital patterns as a tool of lineal authentication, a practice epitomized in his study of a historically maligned Arabian tribe, Bāhila. It also shows how al-Jāsir made use of Arabian marital patterns as a form of ethnographic data that could serve as a basis for rehabilitating the reputation of historically maligned Arabian tribes and advancing a nativist ethical blueprint for modern Saudi society in which tribal and religious values could cohere harmoniously against perceived external threats.

Keywords:   marriage patterns, Arabian history, genealogical culture, al-Ghāt, status hierarchies, Hamad al-Jāsir, lineal authentication, Bāhila, Arabian tribes, Saudi society

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