GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

 
AUTHOR NAME
 
Family Name:
Rector
 
First Name:
Josiah
 
ABSTRACT OF PAPER
 
Title of Paper:
Labor in a ‘Global City’: South Asian Guest Workers in Dubai, 1960-2011
 
Paper Proposal Text :
This paper focuses on the history of South Asian guest workers in Dubai over the roughly fifty-year period from 1960 to the present. Taking the “global” nature of Dubai as its starting point, it argues that the changing role of South Asian guest workers in the city’s labor markets illustrates conflicts between the economic, cultural and political aspects of globalization. It begins with a brief history of South Asian migration to Dubai, focusing on the massive influx of expatriate worker beginning with the 1970s “oil boom”. It then discusses labor rights in Dubai, in relation to the UAE’s accession to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), scrutiny from groups like Human Rights Watch (HRW), and strikes and street protests by expatriate workers. It explores the mixed feelings of Emirati nationals and South Asians alike about the “demographic imbalance” in Dubai’s labor markets. Finally, it addresses the question: if Dubai is a “global city,” can the status quo of the kafala system withstand global economic, political and cultural pressures in the wake of the Arab Spring?
 
 
 

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