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Dubai, the City as Corporation$
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Ahmed Kanna

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780816656301

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816656301.001.0001

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Dubai Contexts and Contestations

Dubai Contexts and Contestations

(p.1) Introduction Dubai Contexts and Contestations
Dubai, the City as Corporation

Ahmed Kanna

University of Minnesota Press

The introduction discusses the politics of urbanity surrounding Dubai and its transition from a traditionalist state to a rapidly urbanizing global city operating under neoliberalist ideologies. Studies into the city have often eschewed the contexts of empire and capital in favor of the traditional—obscuring the city’s complexities as a result. Dubai (and the Arab Gulf in general) had previously resisted reforms in anticolonial fervor, although in recent years modernity has taken hold of the region, ushering in a state of “orientalism in reverse” for a city once considered to be suspended in time and mysteriously Orient. Dubai is a dynamic, rapidly modernizing global city subject to reform projects—most notably from the “starchitects”—representing the allure of progress in spatial dimensions. Yet the city also struggles with the old questions of modernity and independence within a new, rising hegemony in the postcolonial state.

Keywords:   Dubai, urbanity, Arab Gulf, starchitects, hegemony, global city, orientalism in reverse, modernity

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