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A new diaspora of Saudi exiles: challenging repression from abroad

Al-Rasheed, Madawi (2023) A new diaspora of Saudi exiles: challenging repression from abroad. LSE Middle East Centre Paper Series (72). LSE Middle East Centre, London, UK.

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Although Saudi Arabia has generated waves of exiles throughout its modern history, the recent diaspora is different in its diversity, demographic profile and aspirations. The repression that accompanied the rise of current Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman has pushed feminists, young students, secularists, Islamists and others to flee the country in search of safe havens in the US, Europe, Canada and Australia. Based on ethnographic research across several diaspora locations, this paper traces the diversity of the young cohort of exiles who are currently seeking to counter domestic repression from abroad. It focuses on digital activism, for example Twitter, that is also used by the regime to amplify its popularity and propaganda. From abroad, exiles try to counter regime narratives about promised prosperity, freedoms and opportunities. As social media has become more controlled and even dangerous for critics at home, exiles insert their voices to assert their rights as citizens, hoping that this activism will put pressure on the regime to allow political participation. Exiles also began to institutionalise opposition to the regime through the creation of several institutions in the diaspora. The paper surveys a sample of such institutions that serve the immediate needs of the diaspora and create solidarity across generations and locations. The paper assesses the challenges and prospects for the success of political activism from abroad.

Item Type: Monograph (Discussion Paper)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2023 The Author
Divisions: Middle East Centre
Subjects: J Political Science > JQ Political institutions Asia
J Political Science > JV Colonies and colonization. Emigration and immigration. International migration
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2023 16:03
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 12:31

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