Of all the countries in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia seems to have remained immovable since the beginning of the Arab Spring. What does conservatism mean, are reforms possible, and what is the pace of change? The clever mix of conservatism, reform and accommodation are the characteristic features of the Saudi Arabia system of adjustment in politics, culture and daily life.
The report Clingendael publishes "Saudi Arabia, between Conservatism, Accommodation and Reform", edited by Roel Meijer and Paul Aarts and written by three distinguished young researchers Joas Wagemakers, Annemarie van Geel and Mariwan Kanie, addresses several of these features. The three subjects the report deals with are intellectual debates, civil society, and gender segregation in Saudi Arabia cover a wide range of topics that give an insight into the workings of these themes in different sections of society. The 'Riyad' research project that started in April 2010 and lasted to January 2012, of which this report it the result, was led by Institute Clingendael and is part of a larger program initiated by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, called the Islam Research Program (IRP).