This seminar examines how migrant labor impacts democratization processes in the United Arab Emirates, where non-citizens comprise over 96 percent of the labor force. Unlike previous studies that show how stringent citizenship policies impede the social mobility and political organization of migrant groups, the seminar will explain how migration policies also shape the way citizens mobilize politically. The research details how elites in the federal security apparatus have adopted a range of formal and informal institutions that prevent migrant workers from permanently settling and becoming citizens. The speaker will argue that by enforcing temporary migration policies, the federal security apparatus has been able to consolidate its power over the other Emirates and adapt the tactics of migrant unsettlement to respond to contestations by its own citizens. The research is based on eighteen months of ethnographic and archival fieldwork in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.