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Durham e-Theses
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Recalibrating Youth Bulge Theory
Saudi Arabia’s Youth and the Threat to Security

SAYCE, TERENCE,RICHARD (2016) Recalibrating Youth Bulge Theory
Saudi Arabia’s Youth and the Threat to Security.
Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



This thesis addresses the question of whether Saudi Arabia’s youth bulge presents a threat to domestic and international security. Youth bulge theory informs us that if countries are home to large youth populations whilst experiencing high levels of unemployment they are susceptible to civil unrest, terrorism or civil war. It is irrefutable that Saudi Arabia has a youth bulge, high unemployment and -- in spite of its perceived prosperity -- it has experienced both domestic and global terrorism, with 15 of the hijackers on September 11, 2001 coming from the Kingdom. Consequently, following 9/11 Saudi Arabia was criticized by the West for having a religious education system that turned out terrorists, an allegation it strongly refuted. Given the recent resurgence in domestic and international terrorism by young Saudi members of DAESH (Islamic State), both within Saudi Arabia and the Levant, after a decade of relative calm, there would appear to be a strong case to support the theory. However, in Arabia, things are not always as they may seem.
It is argued that youth bulge theory is overly focused on civil war and needs to be recalibrated to take account of Saudi exceptionalism. Built upon a foundation of Social Movement Theory, this thesis is supported by the three pillars of youth bulge, terrorism and feminist theory; the latter because half the population has to date been ignored by the academy in the discussion on youth bulge. Drawing from Durkheim’s work on religion, education and suicide, and Habermas for his public sphere, administrative power, education and crisis in society, the theory is reinforced by exhaustive ethnographic research and data drawn from primary and secondary sources. This process to recalibrate youth bulge theory will lead us to a better understanding of Saudi youth and an explanation for why when a few young Saudis embraced terrorism, the vast majority did not.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:"Saudi Arabia Youth" "Security" "Terrorism"
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Government and International Affairs, School of
Thesis Date:2016
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:05 Apr 2016 08:48

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