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State-society dialogue in Saudi Arabia is one of the most contested issues in the country today, yet little is known about the National Dialogue process, and its relationship with Saudi society is frequently and widely misunderstood. The first to examine the Saudi Arabian National Dialogue process in its entirety, Mark C. Thompson investigates the relationship between the King Abdulaziz Center for National Dialogue (KACND) and the key social constituencies of Saudi society. Since its establishment in 2003, the KACND has attempted to promote a culture of dialogue and has encouraged the debate of contentious socio-political issues by bringing individuals together from across the Kingdom. Drawing on Antonio Gramsci's theory of hegemony, the author asks whether the Saudi socio-political system is moving from a form of patrimonial state to one of ideological hegemony and, if this is the case, whether the KACND is a catalyst, or even a driving force, in this transition. Saudi Arabia and the Path to Political Change investigates the practices and the impact of the KACND and assesses the extent to which the institution's activities, and the ongoing National Dialogue process, represent a viable attempt to address emerging political concerns in Saudi Arabia. Covering pivotal issues including women's empowerment, public health and employment, the author here explores the extensive impact of the KACND's activities on internal cross-constituency communication and discourse and shows how the process relates to wider regime strategies and to the evolution of the Saudi polity. Based on approximately 120 interviews conducted in Saudi Arabia from 2009 to 2011 and drawing on the evidence of a wide range of focus groups and interviews with National Dialogue participants, KACND officials, government ministers, lawyers and journalists, this book provides a unique insight into the effects and consequences of Saudi National Dialogue, and questions the extent to which wider ideological debate is possible in the Kingdom.