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Tadros, Victoria (2021) Listening, Khaleeji-Style: An Exploration of Music, Power and Geopolitics in the United Arab Emirates. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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The Gulf States have enjoyed several decades of economic prosperity, and this prosperity (along with religious influence) has, somewhat surprisingly, lent itself to increasing cultural influence. However, whilst further contributing to the ways in which the Gulf has exported cultural ideology to the region, scholarly perspectives have not adequately explored the significance of a cultural shift on the changing local Gulf musical culture. This dissertation addresses this absence by exploring the ways in which the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is structured around a binary discourse of values, such as sacred-secular and traditional-modern. Using interview material, this dissertation argues that these values underpin the ways in which Emiratis negotiate individualistic desire through musical listening - paying particular attention to the car counterprivate as a mediator of public and private space. This work also addresses the shift from tribal to individualistic society by exploring musical interactions with nature and self-sufficiency, as well as highlighting how contemporary Emirati DJs reimagine the Bedouin concept of ʾaṣl for individualistic affirmation. Through introducing contemporary Emirati listening practices as a site for academic study, this research updates the genre focus of current musical scholarship pertaining to the Gulf, which has previously been concerned chiefly with pre-oil Gulf culture. Ultimately, this thesis showcases the rarely acknowledged cultural forces involved in documenting the shift from fishing villages to cosmopolitan meccas.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses
Supervisors Name: Ilana Webster-Kogen
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 10 Oct 2021 09:43

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