Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Daʿwa, Dynasty, and Destiny in the Arab Gulf

  • Nadav Samin (a1)

This article considers the question of collective identity formation in the Arab Gulf by looking at the distinctive ways in which the genealogies of the dominant kinship collective of the United Arab Emirates, the Banī Yās confederation, have been represented by that country's cultural and heritage-making institutions. I look comparatively at two high profile, state-sponsored, Emirati genealogical projects, one a site, and the other a text, and investigate their significance from a historical and ethnographic perspective. I find that the relatively weak religious gravity of the United Arab Emirates allows for unorthodox representations of kinship at the national level, that women do not necessarily buy into these representations yet contribute in their own ways to a kinship nationalist discourse, and that genealogy is nonetheless a particularly fraught idiom for binding together an ethnically heterogeneous society like the Emirates. Approaching the public representation of genealogies through an integrative framework, this article sheds light on important themes in modern Emirati and broader Gulf social and political life, including the complicated place of religious norms in a newly fashioned Muslim nation, the influence of gender on conceptions of kinship and nationhood, and the challenge ethnic heterogeneity poses to an Arab ethno-national project.

Corresponding author
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Nadav Samin , Of Sand or Soil: Genealogy and Tribal Belonging in Saudi Arabia (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2015)

Peter Lienhardt , Shaikhdoms of Eastern Arabia (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2001)

Andrea B. Rugh , The Political Culture of Leadership in the United Arab Emirates (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2007)

Neha Vora , Impossible Citizens: Dubai's Indian Diaspora (Durham: Duke University Press, 2013)

Abdel Razzaq Takriti argues this point in a recent study: Monsoon Revolution: Republicans, Sultans, and Empires in Oman, 1965–1976 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013)

Sulayman Khalaf , “Poetics and Politics of Newly Invented Traditions in the Gulf: Camel Racing in the United Arab Emirates,” Ethnology 39, 3 (2000): 243–61

Christiane Klapisch-Zuber , “The Genesis of the Family Tree,” I Tatti Studies in the Italian Renaissance 4 (1991): 105–29

Engseng Ho , “Foreigners and Mediators in the Constitution of Malay Sovereignty,” Indonesia and the Malay World 41, 120 (2013): 146–67, 152

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Comparative Studies in Society and History
  • ISSN: 0010-4175
  • EISSN: 1475-2999
  • URL: /core/journals/comparative-studies-in-society-and-history
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 7
Total number of PDF views: 121 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 359 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 27th September 2016 - 16th August 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.