The impacts of Western modernity upon identity in an Islamic society : a case study of the United Arab Emirates, with special reference to the impact of media & technology upon identity
The aim of this thesis is to examme different hypotheses about a crisis of identity
in an Islamic society, especially examining the impact of Western modernity from
different perspectives - social, personal, national, cultural, political and economic. To
achieve this aim the researcher has depended on Weberian conceptions and
categorisations about what constitutes modernity, and his opinions about Islamic society
developing such a process, especially the shortcomings of such a society in developing the
prerequisite conditions for the modernisation that has happened in Europe. Furthermore,
other theories about the crisis of identity in Islamic society have been used, such as Al
Ahsan's theory in distinguishing the Islamic Ummah from the Western concept of nation,
and the historic perspective of the crisis in the Arab societies enunciated by Ghalioun.
This work also seeks to test assumptions about the impact of technology and the media,
especially since these are Western derived, upon the Arab and Islamic identities.
In order to examine such hypotheses the researcher has sought to use a variety of
methods, such as studying the UAE society as a case study, complemented with in-depth
interviews, and observation, using other quantitative methods such as questionnaires and
content analysis to consolidate the qualitative methods.
The researcher's objectives are to ascertain whether the opmIOns of intellectuals
and personalities within the elite of UAE society reflect the opinions or points of view of
the common man with regard to the above hypotheses. Secondly, as observations are
capable of being accused of being somewhat subjective, other opinions from a broader
base are needed to strengthen the reliability and validity of the results collected before.
Thirdly, by assessing and counting the Western material of a Western origin within the
content of three Arab newspapers in the UAE I sought to gauge the influence of the
Western media on the Arab media and, by extension, of Western culture on the Arab and
local readers' perceptions of the world - as shaped by the print media in the UAE.