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Asian Migration and Global Cities

Anne Cong-Huyen, Jonathan Young Banfill, Katherine Herrera, Samantha Ching, Natalie Yip, Thania Lucero, Randy Mai, Candice Lau, Authors

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Literature And Media Used To Portray Dubai

The majority of text that exist about Dubai portray it as a glamorous and luxurious city, where the population enjoys a wealthy lifestyle. It is also portrayed as the perfect place for foreign investment, as a small amount of money invested in Dubai can yield high profits. This is all part of the effort to contribute to the branding of Dubai. However, these text that seek to further advance the idea of Dubai as a brand are not representative of all people that reside in Dubai. There is a constant theme found in most of the media that advertises Dubai, and that is that ALL residents of Dubai are wealthy. However, there are thousands of workers in Dubai who live below the poverty line. The text below are representations of texts that portray the city as the ideal place where exotic and foreign investment meet. Where people should travel or live because in doing so they will achieve a life of luxury. There are also text that provide a critical portrayal of the city, that seek to challenge the branding of Dubai.

Robin Moore (1977): Espionage novel based in Dubai. In this novel the city is portrayed as a dark city with dirt roads, and a few brick houses. Where the struggle for power, and wealth take place alongside a series of sexual relations. The portrayal of the Muslim community within the book is very Westernized, as it feeds into common stereotypes. Moore gives insight as to what Dubai was like before the skyscrapers were built, the immigration boom, and when the city still relied on oil as the main source of the economy. This novel is directed towards a Western audience, who is interested in finding out how exotic and mysterious Dubai was before Westerners began to invest in the city and "turned it" into what it is today. Moore's novel helps reinforce the idea that a city that is not developed needs foreign investment to grown into a global city. The author depicts Dubai as a city that has no infrastructure or order. Thus, foreign investment is needed to bring the city up to it's potential. 

Jim Krane (2010): This books uses intersectionality to describe how the city was built, and gives the readers a chance to see how different groups of people were affected by it. The importance of this book lies in the mere fact that it looks at all the factors that contributed to the building of the city, it presents information that the mainstream media in Dubai would not present. As it allows readers to see that the city was not built solely on foreign investment and the royal family. This text is aimed towards an audience that is socially conscious and critical of the factors that contributed to the construction of the facade of Dubai: as a city where everyone can live a luxurious life style. Krane provides a book that is socially conscious that address issues such as labor exploitation, and most importantly it gives the workers credit for having built the city. Often times people forget that Dubai was once a desert, with very few houses. Today Dubai is a global city because workers from Asia helped make it grow, and continue to make it grow. It was the workers who built the hotels, mansions, and shopping malls. This city was built on the exploitation of workers, and Krane through his books helps readers be reminded of that. 

Pranay Gupte (2011): This book is a straight forward text about the history of the making of the Dubai as the city we know today. There is little criticism  about labor exploitation or other topics related to that. This would classify as a text that perhaps the officials of Dubai would use to continue the branding of Dubai. The audience of this book are foreign investors, who seek to understand how corporations played a role in the development of Dubai, and who perhaps are interested in investing money in the city. Unfortunately this book does not seek to improve the conditions of the workers in the city. On the contrary this book helps to feed into the exploitation of the workers; as this is a guide to conduct business in Dubai that encourages big corporations to invest in the city at the expense of the workers. 

By: Thania Lucero
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