A couple of days ago I got bit by a dog at my job at a doggie daycare, sent out five email solicitations for interviews (confirmed one), got a chunk of reading done, and enjoyed happy hour at a Christmas themed bar with my friends – this has been the gist of my last FWT and its been pretty great, although stressful, so far.
In my busy days I’ve been trying to find a balance between my life at home and spending time on my project. This has proved, by far, to be the hardest part of this independent study. All of a sudden I feel like I’ve lost the ability to gauge how much work I should be doing, and time seems to be moving along more and more quickly, making me more and more anxious, but I suppose that’s part of doing this kind of independent work.
Researching a place I am so intimately familiar with has also proved difficult in interesting ways. The line between research and recreation has become blurred in a way that makes me uncertain about whether what I am doing is actually ‘work’ or not. This, I think, has worked both for and against me. It has meant that I am thinking about this work most of the time, regardless of what I am doing; but it has also made me seriously reconsider what does and does not count as anthropological research and information. This is something that is completely fascinating but is, especially the midst of a project like this, something almost terrifying. I feel good about what I’ve accomplished up to this point, but I am feeling the pressure to untangle my life from academic interests – an impulse which may or may not be entirely helpful.
I’m not sure how it would be done, but someone really needs to write an ethnography of the Dubai International Airport. One of the biggest hubs in the world (it’s projected to be the biggest in a few years), it is a crossroads with flights in and out of the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Europe and much further abroad. The place never sleeps with Duty Free open 24 hours a day, a gym and multiple hotels inside the airport itself and people from every corner of the globe represented. There is gold jewelry, a champagne bar and people in everything from three piece suits to shalwar kameeses to flip flops.
While George Clooney has made a movie about this (or was it Tom Hanks?), Read More…