chapter  5
35 Pages

On violence

Previous chapters have demonstrated that truth management depends upon the interrelated factors of leadership, narrative construction, socialization and violence. I have attempted to analyse the various socio-political agencies that have been tailored to disseminate the Wahhabi narrative in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This chapter will specifically deal with violent mechanisms of social control and examine the functionality and the capacity of violence to enforce the state’s regime of truth. Although the state has heavily invested in creative measures to standardize the collective consciousness in accordance with Wahhabism, there is no sign of a comprehensive conformity. Therefore, the state has continuously relied upon violent mechanisms of social control to impose its ideological vision. Although the system has already developed sophisticated social, educational and religious agencies to spread its rationalizing narratives, it is still heavily dependent upon violence to accommodate its policies of social engineering. Modern Saudi Arabia is an ideological state by definition. It claims to have

a religious mandate to create the ideal Islamic state. Like many other ideological states, the Saudi kingdom has relied on violence to enforce its social engineering programmes. In a similar way to communism in the former USSR, Maoism in China and the Islamic Republic of Iran, Saudi Arabia justifies the use of violence as a necessity through which to homogenize the nation in accordance with its ‘true’ doctrinal characteristics. Like many other ideological states, Saudi Arabia has a utopian model of social and moral standards and of governance, which it asserts is morally supreme and ‘final’. Hence, the system wants to mobilize the rest of the nation to share in its utopian vision. To this effect, it creates sharp ideological binaries and, by doing so, it claims to be on the side of truth. Accordingly, the system uses various instruments of violence to eliminate those incompatible forces that are not on the side of ‘truth’. As was shown in detail in the first chapter, violence does not only refer to

the limited definition of physical harm and death; violence is multidimensional and can be conceptualized in many ways. In the first chapter

violence was referred to as ‘the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, mal-development or depravation.’1 Indeed, the inclusion of ‘power’ in addition to the ‘use of physical force’ widens the definition of violent acts, and expands the conventional understanding of violence to include those acts that result from a power relationship, including threats, intimidation and discrimination. The ‘use of power’ also serves to include neglect and all forms of physical, sexual and psychological harm.2