Discussion prompt on The United Arabs Emirates
Type of assignment:Essay
Academic level:College Level
Number of sources:1
Our ultimate questions: What makes the UAE different? What might it look like in 20 years?
In this assignment you can now use your imagination and external sources alongside the books assigned in this class. Yet this is a social science class, therefore you must discipline your imagination with the social engineering approach. For a good grade it is not enough to merely claim that the UAE will lead the Arab world in modernization or that the country would acquire a stronger unitary sense of citizenship. You must also indicate how this becomes possible, what kind of social mechanisms and purposeful public policies would be involved in achieving the goals? How would the UAE avoid the developmental pitfalls of the variety we see elsewhere in the Middle East? You are building, quite literally, a bridge into the future. Your projected bridge must bear weight.
The project papers should be clear and short,
You can choose any or all of the aspects of modern state-building and relate it to the UAE experience and goals. See how Lachmann structures his chapters.
If your angle is on the state structures, you can begin by briefly describing how the UAE was founded as a federation of seven emirates with large personal powers traditionally vested in their ruling families. Where is this structure going in the future if the UAE expands a modern military and introduces taxation and conscription across all seven emirates in order to support the defense needs?
What common language, culture, the symbols of popular attachment and political identity do you project to emerge?
What then happens to tribal allegiances?
Will there emerge a stronger central government or would the emirates rather de-centralize their policies?
How would the UAE foster economic development and diversify its economy? Will the future growth be state-led, private Emirati led, reliant on foreign direct investment, or all of the above, and then in what proportion?
To what extent will the UAE rely on immigrant labor, expat expertise, market entrepreneurship?
Where do you see the desirable and feasible goals for Emiratization?
What role do you assign to oil industry? If not by oil alone, then what else?
What might be happening to family structures and demography as the country continues to modernize? Will the families grow bigger or smaller?
What would be happening to culture? What would it take to preserve traditions while also becoming a self-confident part of a larger world?
As you think through the optimistic scenarios, you can also show your awareness of the pitfalls and failures as discussed by James Gelvin and Roger Owen. How to avoid what went wrong in other places? Where the economic and political structures could need special reinforcement?
Basically, what are the steps and policies UAE should take to become better after 20 years?