Dubai, the City as Corporation
Publication Year: 2011
Exposing local struggles over power and meaning in the making and representation of Dubai, Kanna examines the core questions of what gets built and for whom. His work, unique in its view of the interconnectedness of cultural identity, the built environment, and politics, offers an instructive picture of how different factions—from local and non-Arab residents and expatriate South Asians to the cultural and economic elites of the city—have all participated in the creation and marketing of Dubai. The result is an unparalleled account of the ways in which the built environment shapes and is shaped by the experience of globalization and neoliberalism in a diverse, multinational city.
Published by: University of Minnesota Press
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Title Page, Copyright Page
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With this book, I try to bring a perspective informed by recent devel-opments in cultural anthropology, the field in which I was trained, and Middle East history, a field in which I was not, onto the analy-sis of the ways Dubai has urbanized over the past decade. Although history is a field I frequently draw on in my research and in which I have abiding intellectual and teaching interests, this book is not meant to be a serious contribution to the historical literature on Dubai, the United Arab Emir-...
Note on Transliteration
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Transliterations of Modern Standard Arabic and Emirati dialect are based on the system employed by the International Journal of Middle East Stud-ies. The symbols ‛ and ’ represent, respectively, the glottals ‛ayn and hamza. Proper nouns recognized in English, such as Beirut or Al Maktoum, remain ...
Introduction: Dubai Contexts and Contestations
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We live in a wonderland. . . . I didn’t come to Dubai for anything You should tell your readers that we’re not just Bedouins with more money than we know what to do with. We have social problems. We today it still seems acceptable to represent the Arab Gulf, in ways no longer so acceptable in the case of other postcolonies, ahistorically and apolitically, as a region somehow exempt from the structural constraints of empire and capital.1 In spite of the efforts and successes ...
1 State, Citizen, and Foreigner in Dubai
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Let us decide not to imitate Europe; let us combine our muscles and our brains in a new direction. Let us try to create the whole man, whom Europe has been incapable of bringing to triumphant birth. [Capitalism] merely requires a way in, a foreign but colluding social hierarchy which extends and facilitates its action . . . the connection ...
2 “Going South” with the Starchitects: Urbanist Ideology in the Emirati City
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Driving along Dubai’s Sheikh Zayed Road near the World Trade Center interchange is an uncanny experience in architectural remembrance.1 A wall of skyscrapers, one to each side of the highway, gives the pass-erby the claustrophobic impression of traveling through an interminable tunnel of mirrored glass. Writing for the New Yorker, Ian Parker put it per-fectly and cuttingly: “The highway has become a wall across the city: a kind of round-the-clock mugging of Jane Jacobs” (131). Parker’s comment ...
3 The Vanished Village: Nostalgic and Nationalist Critiques of the New Dubai
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...ability to restore its strong growth rate soon, is . . . linked to my bedouin roots which my nation and I are proud of. . . . Bedouins are strong by nature with strong will in combating crisis. They among the most important parts of the family-state’s and allied firms’ development projects during the boom years were well-funded ad-vertising campaigns extolling the glories of the resort, consumption, and spectacular urban enclaves and landscapes these firms were planning ...
4 The City-Corporation: Young Professionals and the Limits of the Neoliberal Response
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Hādhī hādhī D’bai, hādhī dār-il-ḥayy, illī trajji‛ al-shāyib ṣbayy. [This is Dubai, this is Dubai. This is the fountain of youth that turns If you don’t keep up with the times, you’re considered not to exist. While they represent an influential tendency in UAE cultural criti-cism, the nostalgic, or what I have called neoorthodox, voices in the previous chapter are regarded as stifling and rigid by many other Emiratis.1 It is not uncommon for younger Emiratis, especially from ...
5 Indian Ocean Dubai: The Identity Politics of South Asian Immigrants
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...lest we are tempted to assume, based on the discussion in the previous two chapters, that there is some neat line dividing the Emirati neo-orthodoxy and neoliberal tendencies on questions of cultural plural-ism, consider the following conversation I had with a young Dubai flexible citizen. Saad is fluent in English and educated in the United States. He is also from the Khodmoni/Ayami background and speaks Persian fluently. In short, he knows as much as anyone else that even “authentic Arab” Emi-...
Conclusion: Politicizing Dubai Space
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...reading is. . . . Dubai happened; we participated in its construction. We were complicit in its extravagance. But we were also the first on September 19, 2005, between 800 and 1,000 Bangladeshi, Indian, and Pakistani construction workers from the Abu Dhabi-based Al-Hamed Company for Development and Projects marched from their worksite on Nakheel’s Palm Island Jumeirah onto Sheikh Zayed Road in protest of four-months’ non-payment of wages and wretched living condi-...
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...this book would have been impossible without the support and engage-ment of many people. I wish to thank the following individuals and institutions. The book started as a PhD dissertation at Harvard’s Department of Anthropology. I wish to thank my dissertation supervisor, Steve Caton, and my dissertation committee, Ted Bestor, Engseng Ho, and Hashim Sarkis. Not only did they guide me in my early, relatively unsophisticated, at-...
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Page Count: 296
Publication Year: 2011