EMIRATI NATIONALISM IN GLOBAL AGE: PURIFYING THE SOCIETY AND CREATION OF EMIRATI IDENTITY

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hb515@exeter.ac.uk

Ph.D candidate, Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, the University of Exeter (United Kingdom)

Resumo

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) gained independence in 1971 through the unity of several
sheikhdoms. This unification was initially more of a formality, undertaken to ensure the
political independence and recognition of the state. However, once the UAE’s federal structure
became a reality, the state needed to increase loyalty to the federal state. This study examines
why the UAE needed to construct a common “Emirati” identity and how it went about building
it. It argues that, like other nation-states, the UAE attempted to create an identity
encompassing its citizens by excluding other historical and geographic identities; it aimed to
purify its population via an attempt to show that UAE “expats” and “citizens” are completely
distinct from each other. Therefore, this study examines both the UAE’s pre-independence
cosmopolitanism and its post-independence national law and state targets in purifying the
nation, a process exacerbated by high-level tension between the federal state and the
emirates. Furthermore, this study deals with using symbols in identity construction via statesponsored initiatives. In the case of the UAE, these symbols include the myth of founding
fathers, ethnic symbols, and other heritage matters, all of which are examined with reference
to major theoretical works on modern nationalism such as Imagined Communities, Invention
of Tradition, Banal Nationalism, and Ethno-Symbolism.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) gained independence in 1971 through the unity of several sheikhdoms. This unification was initially more of a formality, undertaken to ensure the political independence and recognition of the state. However, once the UAE’s federal structure became a reality, the state needed to increase loyalty to the federal state. This study examines why the UAE needed to construct a common “Emirati” identity and how it went about building it. It argues that, like other nation-states, the UAE attempted to create an identity encompassing its citizens by excluding other historical and geographic identities; it aimed to purify its population via an attempt to show that UAE “expats” and “citizens” are completely distinct from each other. Therefore, this study examines both the UAE’s pre-independence cosmopolitanism and its post-independence national law and state targets in purifying the nation, a process exacerbated by high-level tension between the federal state and the emirates. Furthermore, this study deals with using symbols in identity construction via statesponsored initiatives. In the case of the UAE, these symbols include the myth of founding fathers, ethnic symbols, and other heritage matters, all of which are examined with reference to major theoretical works on modern nationalism such as Imagined Communities, Invention of Tradition, Banal Nationalism, and Ethno-Symbolism.

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Como citar este artigo

Baycar, Hamdullah (2022). Emirati Nationalism in Global Age: Purifying the Society and
Creation of Emirati Identity. Janus.net, e-journal of international relations, Vol13 N2,
November 2022-April 2023. Consulted [online] in date of last visit, https://doi.org/10.26619/1647-7251.13.2.5

Artigo recebido em 7 Fevereiro, 2022 e aceite para publicação em 27 Setembro, 2022

JANUS.NET

e-ISSN: 1647-7251

ERC: 126 867
Portugal

Periodicidade: semestral
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