Hearing Foreigners’ Voices: Unprecedented Communication for Hearing Foreigners’ Voices in Saudi Arabia

Alaa Bakur


After the Arab Spring uprisings, specifically the events in 2012, the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Labor inaugurated a participatory management department to engage with citizens via the introduction of new policies to meet Saudi citizens’ needs. The department adopted two approaches with which to promote citizen participation and hear and respond to the public’s voice. The approaches were social dialogue and the use of digital communication. The objective of this study is to investigate whether the Ministry of Labor allowed foreigners to participate in and engage with other Saudis to meet their interests in terms of employment, education, and other needs to enjoy the life in Saudi Arabia. The theoretical framework adopted for this paper is based on Nico Carpentier’s work. Data for the present study were collected through document analyses, in-depth interviews, and focus group discussions. The paper shows that opportunities for foreigners to engage and make their voices heard were given to specific groups. These groups, who hold various types of power, were included with ordinary Saudi citizens in terms of the level of participation given by the Saudi government. These foreigner groups were listened to because they had the power to persuade the Minister of Labor to include them with other Saudis. Additionally, ignoring these powerful foreigner groups could have lead them to act against the Saudis’ best interests, which was a main consideration of the Saudi government and Ministry of Labor.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.11114/ijsss.v5i12.2747


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International Journal of Social Science Studies   ISSN 2324-8033 (Print)   ISSN 2324-8041 (Online)

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