[P5145] Contending Visions of Belonging in the Arabian Peninsula

Created by Keye Tersmette
Friday, 11/16/18 8:30am


The popular demands of the 2011 Arab uprisings, the oil price decline since 2014, and the Qatar blockade have impelled scholars of the Gulf and Arabian Peninsula to rethink claims to and expectations of political and economic citizenship in the region’s rentier states. Meanwhile increasing scholarly attention to the transnational lives and networks of economic migrants in the region has complicated existing understandings of nationality in mere juridico-political terms. This panel weaves together these two strands of research in order to study the experience, causes and effects of widely differing senses of belonging among the region’s heterogeneous populations. Through a selection of historical and contemporary cases, this panel asks how an analysis of waxing and waning senses of belonging (al-shu’ur bi-l-intima’) — social, political, economic, and/or cultural — can help us understand relations, tensions, and even ostensible rifts not only among populations and communities within geopolitical borders of Gulf nation-states but also across them. Interrogating local, regional, and transnational conceptualizations and intimations of citizenship, this interdisciplinary panel traces contending visions of belonging in a variety of settings, including international borderlands, the Peninsular littoral and sea, urban centres, and labour markets. Collectively, the four papers aim to decouple the notion of belonging from oversimple nation-state connotations. Instead, they offer new directions for understanding: the fluidity of national identity and belonging in “new” border regions in the Arabian Peninsula; how identities across the Gulf have been constructed in no small part through scholarship on the region; how economic positionality and belonging in the Gulf is shaped by labour regimes that span the Indian Ocean; and how political and religious networks reconcile discourses on national belonging and the Islamic umma.


Association for Gulf and Arabian Peninsula Studies (AGAPS)


Anthro; Econ; Hist; Pol Science



    Nelida Fuccaro

    (New York University Abu Dhabi)
    Panel Participating Role(s): Chair;

    Neha Vora

    (Lafayette College)
    Panel Participating Role(s): Discussant;