Dreamscapes of Dubai: Geographies and Genealogies of Global City Status
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This dissertation asks how Dubais dream and position as a global city impacts on and is impacted by the experiences of a migrant-majority population; and, simultaneously, how the operation of highly exclusionary citizenship regimes and everyday ideologies work to justify and rationalize social hierarchies. It explores the making of Dubais global, developmental trajectory through a multiplicity of dreams and temporalities as they shape urban landscapes and social hierarchies in the city. Methodologically, it operates through an understanding of the simultaneity of social scales, which allows, in part, for an examination of how the everyday offers insight as a counterpoint to the spectacle of globality. Theoretically I argue that understanding the construction of particular subjectivities created through relational identity formation and processes of Othering based on privilege and exclusion allows for a more complex understanding of the social, political, economic and imaginary realms through which we might challenge social hierarchies and the subsequent violence(s) they engender as somehow natural, inevitable, increasingly acceptable, and at times, necessary in the making of neoliberal globality. It is argued that migration is an integral and foundational aspect of Dubais development and global allure, illustrated by mapping the diverse routes that comprise geographies of migration to the city, while simultaneously unmapping the historical genealogies that accompany migrants on their journeys to the city. Together, these examinations allow us to trace histories of race, nationality, class and gender, operating at different scales, and in different forms and temporalities, to rationalize, normalize, and even, legitimize violent landscapes and hierarchies.