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Abdulla Al Sayyari, Fayez Hejaili and Faissal Shaheen

Discussions on bioethical issues within the Saudi society are a relatively new development. However, they have taken increasing importance over the last two decades. This accompanied the massive advances in medical care, the beginning of medical and biological research, the establishment of pharmaceutical companies and the exposure of society to international norms. By and large the driving forces of the need for bioethical discourses are the practical needs arising from these recent developments in our region rather than that being due to theoretical or academic investigation. In this article, we discuss issues related to the interaction between society and medical ethics in Saudi Arabia with particular reference to organ transplantation ethics.

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Saudi Patients and Health Care Providers

Divergent Perceptions of Illnesses and Their Symptoms

Mohamed Harakati, Faissal Shaheen, Hani Tamim, Saadi Taher, Adel Al. Qublan and Abdulla Al Sayyari

This cross-sectional survey study analyses the degree of concordance between Saudi patients and their nurses and physicians in four areas: (1) perceived causation of diseases and drivers of cure, (2) symptom ranking and perception, (3) views on social habits and traditional medicine, and (4) assessment of health care providers' empathy. The doctors and nurses were asked to predict their patients' responses to the survey. Significant divergence was found between the patients' responses and the health care providers' predictions. Cultural and background differences between the two groups, as well as a large educational gap, might account for this disparity. Such discordance could conceivably lead to wrong diagnoses being made, due to the different levels of importance that patients and doctors accord to symptoms.

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Reports

Exhibitions, Publications, Films, Music and Conferences

Danila Mayer, Elizabeth Berk, Ali Abdi, Soheila Shahshahni, Latofat Tolibjonova, Trinidad Rico, Hassan Asif and Fakhri Haghani

Exhibitions ‘Tuzlu Su – Saltwater: A Theory of Thought Forms’: The 14th Edition of the Istanbul Biennial of Contemporary Arts, 5 September – 1 November 2015

Publications Ellen Amster (2013), Medicine and the Saints: Science, Islam, and the Colonial Encounter in Morocco, 1877–1956, Austin, TX: University of Texas Press. 334 pp. US$30.00, ISBN: 9780292762114.

Madawi Al-Rasheed (2013), A Most Masculine State: Gender, Politics, and Religion in Saudi Arabia. London: Cambridge University Press. 352 pages. $26.28. ISBN-10: 052112252X.

Films Iran Burger, by Mas’ud Ja’fari Jowzani (2015).

Music Cultural Representations of New Uzbeks: Society, Music, Media

Conferences Islamic Pasts: Research Workshop, 10–11 December 2014, Doha, Qatar

Ethnography of Iran: Past and Present, 2–3 October 2015, Princeton University

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Migration and the Persian Gulf

Demography, Identity and the Road to Equitable Policies

Ali Modarres

In 2005, the nations of the Gulf Cooperative Council (GCC), which consist of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, housed over 12 million international migrants. Employed mainly within the service and construction industries, these foreign workers have become a demographic majority in some GCC countries, creating an urgent need for more progressive immigration and equitable integration policies. This article provides an overview of migration to the region, situating it within the larger global emigration/immigration context. By focusing on the various stages of migration and the economic role played by migrants, the article argues for policies that protect the economic, social and political rights of labour migrants. It concludes with recommendations that consider conditions in both the GCC and migrants' countries of origin.

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The Silent Spring

Why Pro-democracy Activity Was Avoided in Gulf Nations during the Arab Spring

Charles Mitchell, Juliet Dinkha and Aya Abdulhamid

This article explores the Arab Spring uprisings that started in late 2010, and investigates why pro-democracy movements were circumvented in most Gulf Cooperation Council countries. Our research is qualitative in nature, and looks into the antecedents of the revolts in Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Algeria, and Yemen to ascertain why revolutionary activity was precluded in Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Oman. Through the utilization of academic research, news sources, governmental, intergovernmental organization, and international nongovernmental organization reports and policy papers, we conclude that the generous allocations of public goods and the extant and reactive government policies during the Arab Spring period successfully preempted revolutionary activities in the Gulf. In this article, we also examine the only Gulf country outlier, Bahrain, by investigating what policies and conditions led to outbreaks of large-scale pro-democracy demonstrations in that nation.

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Sacred Journeys

A Lucrative Revenue Stream

Shadia Taha

Pilgrimage has been performed by members of all religions, and all beliefs, from prehistoric times to the present. The visitation of religious and sacred sites represents a significant economic resource for many faith establishments and organizations. In this article, I will explore the Muslim Hajj to Mecca as a case study. The study is based on ethnographic research using interviews and observation. The economic impact of pilgrims is a multifaceted and complex subject. Pilgrims spend money on transport, accommodation, and other services; hence, they contribute to the economy of the host state. My research suggests that there is a particular type of relationship between the economic and the spiritual aspects of pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.

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Marieke Brandt

Khawlān and Jumā'ah are two out of eight tribes of the Khawlān b. 'Āmir confederation in Southwest Arabia, the territories of five of them being in Yemen and three in Saudi Arabia. Whereas the Yemeni tribes Munabbih, Sahār and Rāzih are well explored, little is known about the tribal structures of Jumā'ah and the homonymous tribe Khawlān. This article provides an overview of the present-day tribal structures of Khawlān and Jumā'ah, and traces their historical formation through comparison with the respective information available in the historical and geographical works of the Yemeni geographer and historian al-Hasan al-Hamdānī, dating back to the tenth century AD. The results of this study show that Jumā'ah and Khawlān were historically open to processes of social, spatial and genealogical changes. Whereas Jumā'ah can trace its lineage directly back to the ancestor Khawlān b. 'Āmir, Khawlān tribe represents a much looser entity of mutual alliances, which corresponds to its lack of genealogical coherence. Among Khawlān and Jumā'ah, the rhetoric of shared 'ancestry' is thus to a greater or a lesser extent a statement of identity and follows the general Middle Eastern practice in conceptualising groups as kin.