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5 - Fun, Freedom, and Personal Growth amid Rising Repression

The Hikers

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 July 2022

Nora Derbal
Affiliation:
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
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Summary

The chapter discusses how Islamic charity has functioned as an umbrella that granted legitimacy to all kinds of youth practices in contemporary Saudi Arabia. Charity here emerges as lifestyle and liberty, as a safe space that has allowed Saudi youth to test the boundaries, experiment with lifestyles, and enjoy sociability and autonomy outside of the family.

At the heart of the chapter are the Hikers, an informal organization that began in 2010 by promoting hiking, sports, and cultural events for a social cause. Like many youth initiatives at the time, it reflected a wish to bring about change and to be part of broader societal change to which it was contributing. Despite the group’s apolitical character, this public orientation put them at risk of surveillance and intervention. The "Third Sector" has become an integral part of the new political agenda of King Salman’s government. The chapter explores the ways in which the Saudi state has increasingly regulated and monitored civil society activism, through new institutions and legislation passed over the last decade, in the name of promoting the "Third Sector" in Saudi Arabia.

Type
Chapter
Information
Charity in Saudi Arabia
Civil Society under Authoritarianism
, pp. 245 - 294
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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