1st Edition

Saudi Arabia in the Anglo-American Press Covering the Kingdom during the 20th Century

By Abdullah F. Alrebh Copyright 2024
    172 Pages 21 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book provides an in-depth analysis of authority structures in Saudi Arabia during the twentieth century, as presented in two leading Western newspapers, The London Times and The New York Times.

    Beginning with a history of Saudi Arabia – from the building of the Kingdom in 1901, when Ibn Saud left his exile in Kuwait to recover Riyadh back from Al-Rasheed’s rule, until the death of King Fahd in 2005 – the author then outlines the theoretical framework of the book, specifically Weber’s original conception of authority. Weber’s notion of authority as having three types – traditional, charismatic, and rational-legal – is applied to an analysis of the two newspapers over the course of the twentieth century. A timeline is devised to aid this analysis, based on significant turning points in Saudi history, including Ibn Saud’s declaration of the Kingdom in 1932 and King Faisal’s assassination in 1975. Ultimately, this analysis discloses the many ways in which conceptions of authority in the Middle East were presented to Western audiences, whilst illuminating the political agendas inherent to this coverage in the UK and the US.

    This book is vital reading for anyone interested in Saudi Arabian history, Western perspectives of the Middle East, and the sociology of media.

    1. Introduction  2. A Historical Account of Saudi Arabia  3. Weber’s Tripartite Classification of Authority  4. Media Content Analysis  5. First Era 1901-1932: Building of the Kingdom  6. Second Era 1932-1953: Monarch Ibn Saud  7. Third Era 1953-1975: Saud and Faisal  8. Fourth Era 1975-2005: Khalid and Fahd  9. Conclusion


    Abdullah F. Alrebh is an Associate Professor of Sociology of Religion and Sociological Theory at Grand Valley State University. His main research interest is Saudi Arabia and Islamic mobilization in GCC countries. Currently, he is serving as non-resident scholar at the Middle East Institute, Washington D.C. and the editor-in-chief of the Michigan Sociological Review.

    "The book, written by a deeply engaged and multi-disciplinary Saudi scholar, examines how the Kingdom has been depicted by Western media outlets – specifically, the London Times and the New York Times – throughout the twentieth century. The book is recommended for those interested in the representational dimension of Saudi Arabia’s relationship with the West, as well as the ways in which the political and economic imperatives of Western actors, at different junctures, have shaped the coverage surrounding its domestic and foreign policies. Though focused on the past century, the book's findings resonate with the current moment."

    Mohammed Turki A Alsudairi, Senior Researcher at the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia