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Document Type:Latin Dissertation
Language of Document:English
Record Number:53697
Doc. No:TL23651
Call number:‭3324514‬
Main Entry:Chad Parker
Title & Author:Transports of progress: the Arabian American Oil Company and American modernization in Saudi Arabia, 1945--1973Chad Parker
College:Indiana University
Date:2008
Degree:Ph.D.
student score:2008
Page No:253
Abstract:In his influential book, Seeing Like a State , James Scott described modernity as a uniquely governmental way of looking at and ordering society. But what happens when a corporation carries out modernization? Primarily concerned with the security of the oil concession, the Arabian American Oil Company (Aramco) engaged in a series of modernization projects in hopes of studying and organizing the Kingdom and its inhabitants for work in the oil fields and establishing a stronger diplomatic position with the Saudi crown. Aramco's modernizing style contained three attributes that separated it from the prevailing development norms presented by states. First, Aramco's approach to development suggested a different attitude toward tradition. Whereas states wanted to standardize and rationalize local social practices, Aramco nurtured tradition alongside modernity as it worked to overlay Saudi society with new technologies and new organizations. Second, corporate ends were notably different than state goals. Aramco had an immediate profit motive and sought an immediate return on its investments. States, on the other hand, sought long-range goals. Third, Aramco's modernization operated on an advanced timeline. Kennedy's development decade began in 1960 when theories of nation-building were just coming into vogue, but modernization as transported by Aramco arrived in Saudi Arabia earlier and, by the early 1960s, was winding down. Since there was no body of modernization theory in the 1940s and 1950s, there was no clear vocabulary or experts; the concepts were inchoate. Aramco's modernization began earlier, and as a consequence, it was improvisational and ad hoc in an attempt to accommodate Saudi notions of nation building and modernity. The company fashioned programs that allowed for parallel development that fostered tradition--Monarchy and Islam--while modernizing the oil industry, medicine, and agriculture. Medicine served as a primary tool of modernization that demonstrated corporate competence, allowed for corporate control of the physical body of potential workers, and granted the Saudi crown a legitimacy confirmed by Western technology and organization. Aramco's legacy in this respect has been forgotten, but it is important if we are to uncover the instrumentalities of modernization and American foreign policy in the Middle East in the postwar era.
Subject:Social sciences; Aramco; Arabian American Oil Company; Modernization; Saudi Arabia; Oil; American history; 0337:American history
Added Entry:N. Cullather
Added Entry:Indiana University