Transnational Geographies of the Heart explores the spatialisation of intimacy in everyday life through an analysis of intimate subjectivities in transnational spaces. The author draws on ethnographic research with British migrants in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, during a phase of rapid globalisation and economic diversification in 2002–2004. This research highlighted the negotiation of inter–personal relationships as enormously significant in relation to the dialectic of home and migration. A range of relationships are discussed in four empirical chapters focused on the production of expatriate subjectivities, community and friendships, sex and romance, and families. The British migrants interviewed are diverse in terms of their length of residence, occupation, age, gender and marital status yet, at the same time, their reproduction of middle class, white and heteronormative subjectivities in postcolonial space marks them as privileged in collective terms. Essential reading for geographers, sociologists and anthropologists, this book demonstrates that a critical analysis of the geographies of intimacy might productively contribute to our understanding of the ways in which intimate subjectivities are embodied, emplaced, and co–produced across binaries of public/private and local/global space.
Series Editor s Preface vi
1 Introduction 1
2 Geographies of Intimacy 23
3 A Globalising Gulf Region and the British in Dubai 45
4 British Expatriate Subjectivities in Dubai 65
5 Community , Clubs and Friendship 85
6 Sex, Desire and Romance in the Globalising City 106
7 Migration, Domesticity and Family Life 126
8 Our Intimate Lives 145
A lively, thought–provoking examination of intimate and transnational subjectivities. Drawing on careful ethnographic research, a rich picture is developed of the complexities of intimacy for British expatriates in Dubai. The analysis is insightful, and the volume makes a significant and distinctive contribution to our understanding of migration and transnational life.
David Conradson, Department of Geography, University of Canterbury, New Zealand
Intimacy is so thickly woven into our individual and social lives that it is extremely difficult to pick apart conceptually, particularly in the hyper–mobile and globalised settings of contemporary life. Transnational Geographies of the Heartdirectly addresses this challenge by exploring the intimacy concept in relationship to mobility. In this absorbing and erudite book, Walsh develops a much needed language with which to explore the textures of intimacy deeply under acknowledged in the migrant literature – as they are enacted and negotiated in one of today s least studied but most globalised cities. In doing so, Walsh delivers a ground–breaking work that highlights the significance of geographical analysis in understanding the spatialisation of intimate subjectivities and the importance of place defined through multiple sites of belonging within complex postcolonial and racialised contexts in shaping our inter–personal relationships.
Loretta Baldassar, School of Social Sciences, University of Western Australia