Gilded Cage

Syed Ali

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Yale University Press img Link Publisher

Sozialwissenschaften, Recht, Wirtschaft / Wirtschaft


This revealing portrait of the famously wealthy Persian Gulf city investigates the human cost of its miraculous rise to global prominence.

In less than two decades, Dubai has transformed itself from an obscure territory of the United Arab Emirates into a global center for business, tourism, and luxury living. With astonishing skyscrapers and tax-free incomes, its rulers have made Dubai into a playground for the global elite while skillfully downplaying its systemic human rights abuses and suppression of dissent. It is a fascinating case study in light-speed urban development, massive immigration, and vertiginous inequality.

In Dubai: Gilded Cage, sociologist Syed Ali delves beneath the dazzling surface to analyze how—and at what cost—Dubai has achieved its success. Ali brings alive a society rigidly divided between expatriate Westerners enjoying opulent lifestyles on short-term work visas, native Emiratis who are largely passive observers, and workers from the developing world who provide the manual labor and domestic service needed to keep the emirate running, often at great personal cost.

"At last, a comprehensive expose of the economic and sexual exploitation that erected this utopia of greed. Syed Ali has seen the future in Dubai and it doesn't work." —Mike Davis, author of Planet of Slums



Regional Studies