Culture of Excess

The oil boom in the late 1980s attracted many expatriates, who brought with them the cultures and symbols from their respective countries. Alanoud Alsharekh and Robert Springborg note in Popular Culture and Political Identity in the Arab Gulf States that “by the early 1990’s, popular culture in the United Arab Emirates consisted almost entirely of idioms, symbols, and practices that originated outside the country.” Ever since, Dubai has served host to a culture of “mad and meaningless overdose of themes, extremes, egos, and extravagance.” Dubai’s material ambitions know few limits with architecture at the core of Dubai’s evolution, perception, and ambition, representing political power, wealth, and ideology. The most symbolic of this globalized mess is the iconic skyscraper which proliferated during the economic boom preceding the global financial crisis of 2008.

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