The Changing UAE Family

Friday, July 18, 2014: 3:50 PM
Room: 302
Oral Presentation
Rima SABBAN , Humanities and Social Sciences, Zayed University, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Emirati families have been changing since the advent of oil and wealth.  However, the recent socio-economic shifts in the society have affected the family on many levels.  What the UAE family has endured recently in term of outside and inside pressure due to globalization is probably not comparable in many parts of the world. In no other country has the proportion of foreign nationals in a society been boosted so high in so short a time as in the UAE.   As a consequence, Emiratis are not even the largest national group in their own country, and have had a hard time trying to sustain a culture among a continuously growing pool of foreigners.  As communities from around the world have mushroomed around national families in both the public and private spheres, UAE households have turned global within. Although one could make comparisons with families in other Gulf States, the UAE's pioneering economic model and speed of change have had an unprecedented impact on the globalization of families.

This paper focuses particularly on women in the family (mothers and daughters) who are considered the gatekeepers of culture and social wellbeing.  It looks at the main new challenges they are facing and the pressure exerted on them from different parts of the society and the state to perform to a role becoming increasingly difficult.  The paper looks into such difficulties using a combination of quantitative and qualitative data gathered from National families of Zayed University students.