Abu Dhabi – God’s Own Country

By Caroline Osella|May 28, 2019|Media, project results and findings, Uncategorized|7 comments

An important question for my part of the REALM research has been about following up on my earlier work, which strongly suggested that Gulf migration, for Malayalis, is not “just about the money”.  I’ve been asking people to identify what other aspects are important to them.

Emirati men sit to eat the traditional Hindu Kerala vegetarian meal from a banana leaf, as part of Onam cel

Emirati men sit to eat the traditional Hindu Kerala vegetarian meal from a banana leaf, as part of Onam celebrations in Abu Dhabi. (courtesy, Arun Mohan).

Now, UK project assistant Helen Underhill and I have been sifting over 100 free-form qualitative interviews and putting some of our findings into a basic database.  I don’t do survey work or structured interviews, so my data would not please a quants person needing simple straight answers. But I do have a rich set of responses, including attitudinal data and some very plain speaking.  (Ethics protocols were carefully respected and all data is absolutely anonymised).

Over the next week, I’ll be writing my wrap-up report from the project, and posting more about the final results.

Meanwhile – here’s an Abu Dhabi Malayali resident, Arun Mohan – who confirms that the Gulf can, indeed, be understood as a form of ‘lifestyle migration’.




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