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MMB Reading Group – ‘Western Privilege: Work, Intimacy, and Postcolonial Hierarchies in Dubai’ by Amélie Le Renard

Wednesday 23 February 2022 at 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm

*** Please note the new date for this meeting***

The MMB Reading Group will meet to discuss Western Privilege: Work, Intimacy, and Postcolonial Hierarchies in Dubai (Stanford University Press, 2021) by Amélie Le Renard.

Nearly 90 per cent of residents in Dubai are foreigners with no Emirati nationality. As in many global cities, those who hold Western passports share specific advantages: prestigious careers, high salaries, and comfortable homes and lifestyles. With this book, Amélie Le Renard explores how race, gender and class backgrounds shape experiences of privilege, and investigates the processes that lead to the formation of Westerners as a social group.

Westernness is more than a passport; it is also an identity that requires emotional and bodily labour. And as they work, hook up, parent and hire domestic help, Westerners chase Dubai’s promise of socioeconomic elevation for the few. Through an ethnography informed by postcolonial and feminist theory, Le Renard reveals the diverse experiences and trajectories of white and non-white, male and female Westerners to understand the shifting and contingent nature of Westernness—and also its deep connection to whiteness and heteronormativity. Western Privilege offers a singular look at the lived reality of structural racism in cities of the global South.

To register for this meeting, please complete this form. A Zoom link will be sent out to attendees the evening before. 

MMB Reading Group coordinator Sarah Kunz will be interviewing Amélie Le Renard for the MMB Insights and Sounds 2022 series. This will be part of MMB’s ongoing MMB on ‘New writing on migration and mobilities’ across our blogs and events.

The e-book of Western Privilege is available from the UoB library.


Wednesday 23 February 2022
1:00 pm to 2:00 pm


Online meeting

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