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Dubai, the City as Corporation

Dubai, the City as Corporation

Ahmed Kanna
Copyright Date: 2011
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 288
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  • Book Info
    Dubai, the City as Corporation
    Book Description:

    Dubai, the City as Corporation reveals the role of cultural and political forces in shaping the image and reality of Dubai. Ahmed Kanna offers an instructive picture of how different factions have participated in the creation and marketing of Dubai, providing an unparalleled account of how the built environment shapes and is shaped by globalization and neoliberalism in a diverse, multinational city.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-7658-3
    Subjects: Anthropology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xiv)
    (pp. xv-xvi)
    (pp. 1-42)

    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 of postcolonial theory in connecting the practices of cultural representation, capitalism, and empire (Ahmad 1992; Ahmad 2006; Said 1978) and the labors of some brilliant recent (and not so recent) scholars of the Gulf (Abdulla 1984; Al Rasheed 2005; Fuccaro 2009; Halliday; Longva; Vitalis), it still seems natural and obvious to write about the region...

    (pp. 43-76)

    Shortly before I traveled to Dubai in late 2006, there appeared a report by the New York–based, nongovernmental organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) entitled “Building Towers, Cheating Workers.” The report accused the United Arab Emirates (UAE) construction industry of systematic abuses against workers, including breached contracts, wretched living conditions, and usurious financial practices. Focusing on Dubai, which at the time of the study accounted for a disproportionate part of the UAE construction sector, the report argued that state authorities and agencies—those of the federal UAE state but also, by implication, those of Dubai emirate—were complicit in these...

  7. CHAPTER 2 “GOING SOUTH” WITH THE STARCHITECTS: Urbanist Ideology in the Emirati City
    (pp. 77-104)

    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 passerby the claustrophobic impression of traveling through an interminable tunnel of mirrored glass. Writing for theNew Yorker, Ian Parker put it perfectly 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 reminds us that in spite of the critical tradition initiated by Jacobs, modern architecture has yet to bridge the gap between its progressive...

  8. CHAPTER 3 THE VANISHED VILLAGE: Nostalgic and Nationalist Critiques of the New Dubai
    (pp. 105-134)

    Among the most important parts of the family-state’s and allied firms’ development projects during the boom years were well-funded advertising campaigns extolling the glories of the resort, consumption, and spectacular urban enclaves and landscapes these firms were planning or developing. Seemingly everywhere one looked were posters, brochures, models, displays, DVDs, and advertisements masquerading as op-ed or investigative journalism. One of the more elaborate, but not in any way atypical, examples of this was a May 2004 academic conference sponsored by the Maktoum-owned Nakheel Corporation at the architecture department of the American University of Sharjah, a prestigious Western-style university in the...

  9. CHAPTER 4 THE CITY-CORPORATION: Young Professionals and the Limits of the Neoliberal Response
    (pp. 135-170)

    While they represent an influential tendency in UAE cultural criticism, 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 among the neoliberal managerial class, to orient themselves towards a perceived multinational modernity beyond the confines staked out by these voices. This is not to suggest that these more neoliberal Emiratis simply reject Emirati ways of identification and investing their lives with meaning, nor to imply that the neoliberal modernity with which they identify is a wholly foreign...

  10. CHAPTER 5 INDIAN OCEAN DUBAI: The Identity Politics of South Asian Immigrants
    (pp. 171-204)

    Lest we are tempted to assume, based on the discussion in the previous two chapters, that there is some neat line dividing the Emirati neoorthodoxy and neoliberal tendencies on questions of cultural pluralism, 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 theKhodmoni/Ayamibackground and speaks Persian fluently. In short, he knows as much as anyone else that even “authentic Arab” Emiratis are very often a mix at least of Arab and Persian, if not also of South Asian and African,...

  11. CONCLUSION: Politicizing Dubai Space
    (pp. 205-218)

    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 conditions at their labor camp.¹ On the face of it, the event was a breakthrough. The workers could not have chosen a better symbol for the protest. Sheikh Zayed Road is, after all, Dubai’s main thoroughfare, its two walls of skyscrapers one of the city’s more forbidding emblems of the new “Muhammedan era.”...

    (pp. 219-222)
  13. NOTES
    (pp. 223-240)
    (pp. 241-258)
  15. INDEX
    (pp. 259-263)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 264-264)