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‘Dad says I'm tied to a shooting star!’ Grounding (research on) British expatriate belonging

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This paper analyses one British woman's everyday practices of belonging as she negotiates expatriate life in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. In doing so, it responds to widespread calls to ground research on processes of transnationalism and diaspora by drawing on 18 months of ethnographic research and adopting a three-stranded analytical framework to reflect on the significance of domesticity, intimacy and foreignness in expatriate belonging. The author focuses on a single research subject to draw attention to a particular British expatriate experience otherwise neglected in migration research and the paper resonates with theoretical literatures aiming to challenge the binary divisions of geographies of belonging, including attachment/detachment.

Keywords: British expatriates; Dubai; diaspora; ethnography; migration; transnationalism

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Geography, University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton, BN1 9SJ, Email:

Publication date: 2006-09-01

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