The Saudi Vision 2030 and the Cultural Changes; The Revitalization of the Bridging Social Capital and the Vibrant Civil Society

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 15:45
Oral Presentation
Muna ALGHURAIBI, The university of Sydney, Australia, King Saud University, Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia is seen as a dynamic state; therefore it went through several pushes of political reforms of the basic law that are believed to be essential changes. I won’t talk about the waves of changes, but definitely I will mention Saudi Vision 2030 as the topic of today. Saudi Vision 2030 is set to find alternatives to support the national economy, which believed to be the new push for reform. “The National Transformation Program”, which is a key element of the vision, entails the privatization of government services. The Saudi government, while aiming to decrease its involvement in the economic sphere, appears hopeful in increasing its involvement in the cultural and social realm through creating its own civil society sector. By looking at the current socio-political and economic circumstances in Saudi Arabia, medium-term structural changes in society are required for reconfiguring the society and for solving the existing social problems, which are considered serious challenges that might hinder achieving their goals within 13 years. Of all the burdens that surround the Saudi civil society, the prevailing theories on the role of civil society in the process of change are notably underemphasized, if not disregarded.

This paper argues that the lack of civil society organizations was due not only to state policy but also to the traditional social capital. Accordingly, the interpretation of the overlap between state policy and the transformation of the society could be highlighted by the trend of social capital, subsequently, the future of civil society in Saudi Arabia. To carry out this goal, this paper examines basic theoretical hypotheses that have been driven by the worldwide spread of a political principle: that the optimal system of social organization is characterized by strong civil societies, underpinned by social capital, and capable of acting independently of the state.