In the modern globalized world, there has been a shift in migration studies that now focus on those immigrants from a transnational perspective. Thus, their lives are not detached from the transnational space that is not only about the point of departure and the point of arrival, but it is more related to the interconnections that emerge in the transnational space. This means that individuals are no longer tied to ethnic and cultural diversities, but by the transformations in the sociality of the transnational space. For many years, the United Arab Emirates has been a great attraction for middle-class Egyptians who wanted to challenge the possibilities offered by their migration to the Gulf. For them, UAE presents a place where financial prosperity and political stability exist. Thus, their migration is mostly attached to their dream of the “better life”. However, in the modern globalization, these dreams are marketized for capital profits that suit the global imaginary. In the transnational space, and through the sociality that is reproduced in multiple and diverse places, identity has turned into a making of nation-states that tend to control moving bodies. Hence, through monitoring the transformations in their everyday lives, these migrants’ identities are transformed according to the interrelated connectivity with a globalized capital. Therefore, the migrants’ dream of the “better life” is contested through the tensions of the everyday these transnational households encounter to underpin the contradiction between their lives transnationally and their expectations of social and economic wellness.
To understand the development of the middle-class Egyptian migration, it is necessary to unpack how these migrants’ experiences are not only framed within a material structure, but also within “imaginative geographies” (Said, 1987). Hence, it is important to look at how the figure of the transnational migrant is tied to technologies of expulsion from the social order which fix them in the position of the “outsider” or the “other” (Nail, 2015). However, in a world of hyper mobility, the migrant in the new global order is not tied to a “geographical space”. Instead, virtual connections and abstract globalization give a fluid understanding of the interconnectivities (re)produced in the transnational space (Roderiguiz, 2010). This notion allows an exploration of the social identities that are reworked away from the nation-state imaginary, but those that are understood through the everyday experiences of those migrants. Therefore, a new concept of the transnational migrant emerges whose social identity is shaped by transformative and deterritorialized globalized space (Schiller, 1995:48-49). Hence, the transnational identity is explored through the individualistic everyday experiences with all its complexities in the transnational space.
School of Global Affairs and Public Policy
Cynthia Nelson Institute for Gender and Women's Studies
MA in Gender & Women's Studies
Committee Member 1
Committee Member 2
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(2022).Transnationalism and Identity: The Dream of ‘Better life’ for Egyptian Migrants in the UAE [Master's Thesis, the American University in Cairo]. AUC Knowledge Fountain.
Ellawaty, Aliaa. Transnationalism and Identity: The Dream of ‘Better life’ for Egyptian Migrants in the UAE. 2022. American University in Cairo, Master's Thesis. AUC Knowledge Fountain.