From centered to distributed belonging: a study of ‘homing’ among citizens and residents in the United Arab Emirates

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The United Arab Emirates has experienced massive social change within a relatively short period of time since the commercial exploitation of oil began in the 1960s. This has been accompanied by large-scale inward migration, with non-nationals comprising 88.5% of the population and an even higher proportion of the workforce. The attainment of citizenship is extremely difficult and non-citizens’ residence in the country is conditional on their employment, resulting in a high turnover of population. This makes the UAE a fascinating case study of ‘homing’ in the context of a world where mobility, rather than settlement, is increasingly the norm. This article is based on a large-scale, mixed-methods study of homing among both Emirati nationals and resident professionals undertaken from 2018 to 2020. It conceptualises their differential strategies of home-making along a scale from ‘centred’ to ‘distributed’ experiences of home and deploys the theoretical lens of liminality to explore the implications of ‘dwelling-in-mobility’.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)612-627
Number of pages16
JournalMobilities
Volume16
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • Home
  • UAE
  • belonging
  • homing
  • liminality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Sociology and Political Science

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