This extract is from a short essay (awarded the inaugural Shiva Naipul prize) by Hilary Mantel entitled ‘Last Morning in Al Hamra’ describing some of her experiences in Saudi Arabia. The extract contains many of the themes we have discussed in this book, in the
context of intergroup relations between the sexes. There is intergroup differentiation and discrimination to the extreme of segregation; complete power and dominance rests with the male, who can mete out savagely inhuman punishments which are legitimate in the eyes of the state; there is ideological control through censorship and promulgation of lies; and there is acquiescence on the part of women who justify their position in the language of the dominant ideology, and condemn their ‘liberated sisters’ in the west. In this chapter we briefly overview the social identity approach and then suggest ways in which it can be and has been used to analyse intergroup relations between the sexes.