Claudia Schröder

The Appropriation of Space: Popular Protest in Saudi Arabian Oil Towns, 1953-1967

This project aims at investigating how the internal consolidation of the Saudi Arabian state and the accompanying transformations in society and organizational structure were connected to a struggle over space and its underlying social order(s). Saudi Arabian oil towns in the 1950s and 1960s were pacemakers of economic growth and prosperity and laboratories for social and political visions for a Saudi Arabian modernity. The appropriation of space in its physical and connotative dimensions by both oil workers and local and central authorities was an important driver for popular protests in Saudi Arabian oil towns between 1953 and 1967. A research of the contested production and reproduction of spatial meaning and order shall help to generate a more differentiated understanding of the transformation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from a territorial empire into a centralized nation-state.