'It got very debauched, very Dubai!' Heterosexual intimacy amongst single British expatriates

Walsh, Katie (2007) 'It got very debauched, very Dubai!' Heterosexual intimacy amongst single British expatriates. Social and Cultural Geography, 8 (4). pp. 507-33. ISSN 1470-1197

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This article explores performances of heterosexuality amongst single, straight British expatriates resident in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. I draw on eighteen months of ethnographic fieldwork, involving participant-observation and interviewing. Specifically, I focus on performances of transient heterosexuality, by which I mean performances of heterosexuality that are characterised by frequent sexual encounters with successive partners and which are enacted in relation to discourses of transience. Firstly, I explore how Dubai is understood as a particular ‘landscape of desire’ (Bell and Valentine 1995), arguing that performances of transient heterosexuality are privileged in its bar/club spaces. I suggest that the changing nature of British transnationalism, transformations in Dubai's night-time economy and, in particular, expatriate discourses about the transnational city as a holiday-like space, influence such performances. Secondly, I consider the ambivalence amongst single British expatriates towards performances of transient heterosexuality. I argue that such performativity is celebrated as an escape from domesticated forms of couple intimacy yet, at the same time, constructed as a negative result of transnationalism. Finally, I explore how single British expatriates' performances of heterosexuality are refracted through more widespread, and powerfully gendered, international discourses about couple intimacy.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Geography
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General) > G0001 Geography (General)
Depositing User: Katie Walsh
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 15:16
Last Modified: 03 Sep 2012 09:38
URI: http://srodev.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/11434
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