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Title: British expatriate belonging in Dubai : foreignness, domesticity, intimacy
Author: Walsh, Katie Joan.
Awarding Body: Royal Holloway, University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 2005
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This thesis analyses expatriate belonging through an ethnography of the British in Dubai. As an account of diasporic or transnational belonging, it is fully grounded in the complexity of everyday lives. This is achieved by exploring expatriate experiences of foreignness, domesticity and intimacy, three thematic strands that are attentive to contemporary theory in their recognition that belonging is embodied, material and emotional respectively. Each of the ethnographic chapters contributes to particular theoretical literatures. Focussing on the construction and enactment of foreignness in the daily lives of expatriates, the first chapter situates the British within Dubai's complex, racialised, social hierarchy and draws on theories of `whiteness' and an unsettling, bodily, experience of `culture shock', to complicate our understanding of expatriate racisms. In the second ethnographic chapter, the thesis explores domestic material culture in British expatriates' homes, analysing belongings and the homemaking practices in which they are involved, including display, remembering, shopping and cleaning. The third part of the thesis highlights the emotional geographies of expatriate intimacy as they are negotiated transnationally and within Dubai in (gendered) practices of relatedness, conjugality, conviviality, friendship and dating. Finally, a personal reflection on the ethnographic research experience also links my experience of ethnographic fieldwork closely into these themes. More generally then, by using this theoretical trinity combined with ethnographic research, the thesis illuminates the interdependence of the (trans)national and local, the material and imagined, as well as movement and attachment, in the everyday complexity of lived belonging. It is argued that British expatriate belonging is characterised by multiplicity, ambivalence and everyday negotiative effort.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available