Kuwait: Social Change in Historical Perspective

By Jacqueline S. Ismael | Go to book overview

Preface

MY INTEREST IN KUWAIT was initiated in graduate school as a deviant case focus for the theoretical study of modernization, development, and social change. This book represents the substantive outcome of theoretical and empirical investigations of the processes of social change and development in the capital-surplus, single- resource-dependent societies.

The theoretical debate and issues have been an integral part of my interest in these unique societies. However, this discussion has been placed in the background in favor of the substantive empirical analysis of Kuwait as a concrete case study. The utilization of dependency theory as the analytical framework for this analysis represents, in effect, my conclusions regarding the theoretical debate rather than the debate itself. The introduction provides a summary of dependency theory to place the subsequent analysis in theoretical perspective.

The remainder of the book is divided into two parts: Part I examines the historical development of Kuwait in the pre-oil period; Part II examines the post-oil period. Some comments on the sources may be useful to the reader. Part I relies upon three basic sources for historical data: (1) studies of the history of the Arab Gulf in English (studies of Kuwait in English are limited); (2) studies of the Gulf in general and Kuwait in particular in Arabic, and here the study of Kuwait's history or specific aspects of it is more extensive and it is in these works that documents pertaining to Kuwait's history have been preserved; (3) British India Office (IOR) and Foreign Office (FOR) records. Part II of the study relies primarily upon demographic and economic data collected by the Kuwait Central Statistical Office, Central Bank of Kuwait, and the Planning Board of the Ministry of Planning. These documents were made available to me by the Government of Kuwait which kindly facilitated my field research.

The Library of Congress system of transliteration from Arabic was utilized in the citation of Arabic sources with one modification: diacritical marks were dropped. In addition, the transformation of dates given

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