In this article I examine why Kuwait and other migrant-receiving countries in the Persian Gulf have failed to enfranchise migrant workers and their descendants through citizenship. I contend that the increasing exclusion of expatriate workers from these societies can be understood in comparison with the disenfranchisement of the stateless populations to which these governments are host. I argue that nationalist narratives that portray these groups as threatening to the host societies have been extremely significant in creating an atmosphere of increasing isolation and exclusion for both expatriates and stateless peoples. I conclude by examining what the Kuwaiti case tells us about how notions of membership and belonging develop and the significant role of historic and political circumstances in shaping these notions.
Expatriates, Stateless Peoples and the Politics of Citizenship
This article investigates the debates on expatriation policies after the establishment of Israel as an independent state in 1948. It shows that citizenship is a contingent political construction rather than an intrinsic national tradition. During the first years of its existence, the exact formulation of the type of citizenship in Israel was not fully established. Although scholars of the Israeli state claim that ethnicity dictated the formulation of Israeli rule, it was the desire to build a modern and democratic state that was the basis for naturalization and expatriation in Israel. The article argues that the resolution to allow multiple citizenships was pragmatic rather than ideological. It shows that in Israel, this policy was not derived from a post-national ideology but from the need to recruit more Jewish immigrants from affluent countries.
Malagasy Marriage, Shifting Post-Colonial Hierarchies, and Policing New Boundaries
In 1999 and 2004, a debate exploded within the Malagasy expatriate community in France after Et Plus Si Affinités, a realist style documentary about arranged marriage between Malagasy women and French men, aired on local television. The series chronicled the adventures of three French bachelors who went to Madagascar to find brides. In this article, I use the reactions to Et Plus Si Affinités as a lens through which to examine changes in Malagasy sexual relations as they are inflected by relations between different ethnic groups in Madagascar, particularly how different groups have historically approached sexual and marital relationships between Malagasy women and French men. Drawing on this case study, I argue that studies of transnational arranged marriage need to attend more closely first to historical representations and the way they figure into transnational marriage, and second to how circulating representations mediate women's agency and their ability to achieve their goals.
Unreadable Simplicity in Barnes's Creatures in an Alphabet
‘From the rue St. Romaine to Patchin Place, the caped and cloched Djuna Barnes cut a striking figure in Paris and Greenwich Village of the 1920s and 1930s. Contemporary writers and artists praised her style, feared her tongue; she was a beauty, but a talented, acerbic and powerfully intelligent one.’ Djuna Barnes is the attractive, mysterious, sexually daring American expatriate who led the glamorously bohemian life of Parisian cafes in the thirties; her figure, impressively clad in a black cape, keeps gliding down Parisian rues and New York alleys alike. An eccentric character, who produced a sui generis and almost forgotten masterpiece – Nightwood – and survived her previous mythical self as a hermit in a studio flat in Greenwich Village until the early eighties. At the end of her life she wrote a ‘slight’ work, a ‘bestiary’ called Creatures in an Alphabet, a sad ending of a great, if unorthodox, literary career.
Disentangling Ruble Quantities and Qualities
This article explores how affluent expatriates in urban Russia adapt to different money practices that involve numbers and quantities. The discussion centers on three analytic categories: difficult sums (5,000); denomination and usage problems (Five Thousand); and ruleof- thumb calculations (five thousands). Each category illustrates different entanglements of money quantities, qualities, and material forms. For example, quantities—exchange rates, denominations, prices—are called upon to justify moral judgments about the Russian people and their culture, as well as the country’s economy. Thus, relations involving money quantities provide ways for wealthy migrants to participate in Russian society, yet they also reinforce migrants’ separation from Russian society. This analysis also suggests that money’s multiplicities exist on a more basic, fundamental level, requiring conversion and mental reckoning across multiple currencies.
Freya Stark's Baghdad Sketches
This article examines Freya Stark's life-writing over a forty-year period in order to shed light on her experience of Baghdad from 1929 to 1933. The article focuses on Stark's resistance to expected feminine norms of the British community, and contextualizes her experience alongside that of Gertrude Bell and Stefana Drower. Stark's experiences, and those of Drower, reveal the ways in which British women resisted the mundane expatriate lifestyle, and gained a great deal of cultural understanding though their interaction with Iraqis. Furthermore, the article discusses Stark's work at the Baghdad Times, a literary apprenticeship that also led to the publication of Baghdad Sketches. The article not only highlights the plurality of autobiographical presentation characteristic of Stark's oeuvre, but also reveals how Stark refashioned her experiences throughout her life, taking into account her changing status and the different political and cultural climates in which the works were published.