Ngeh, Jonathan and Pelican, Michaela (2018). Intersectionality and the Labour Market in the United Arab Emirates: the Experiences of African Migrants. Z. Ethnol., 143 (2). S. 171 - 195. BERLIN: DIETRICH REIMER VERLAG. ISSN 0044-2666

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The Arab Gulf region is one of the major destinations of labour migration besides Europe and North America. While the majority of migrants come from South and South East Asia as well as from neighbouring Arab countries, the region has also become an attractive destination for migrants from Africa. In particular, business hubs such as Dubai and Doha have attracted traders, jobseekers, and recently also students from various African countries. So far, little attention has been devoted to the growing presence and heterogeneity of these migrants, or to variations in their migration experiences. Moreover, several studies have highlighted social hierarchies as a structuring element of Gulf societies, and have identified multiple vectors of inequality, including ethnicity, gender, and class. In this paper, we will adopt an intersectional approach to studying the experiences ofAfrican migrants in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), in particular in relation to their integration into the labour market and the recruitment of business partners. Similarly to migrants from other parts of the Global South, African migrants and entrepreneurs are exposed to a variety of structural constraints that impact on their entry into the UAE economy, often channelling them into low-paying, elementary occupations. Yet once they have entered the system and regularized their stay, they may explore alternative routes to improve on their situation. As the case studies investigated in this paper will show, African migrants flexibly use their intersecting positionalities, in particular ethnicity, nationality, race, and gender, to renegotiate their place in the segregated UAE economy and seek upward professional and social mobility.

Item Type: Journal Article
CreatorsEmailORCIDORCID Put Code
URN: urn:nbn:de:hbz:38-205096
Journal or Publication Title: Z. Ethnol.
Volume: 143
Number: 2
Page Range: S. 171 - 195
Date: 2018
Place of Publication: BERLIN
ISSN: 0044-2666
Language: English
Faculty: Unspecified
Divisions: Unspecified
Subjects: no entry
Uncontrolled Keywords:
KAFALA; SYSTEMMultiple languages
AnthropologyMultiple languages
Refereed: Yes


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