Gulf Nationalism and the Geopolitics of Constructing Falconry as a 'Heritage Sport'

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Scopus citations


This paper illustrates how Gulf nationals' claims to their homelands are affirmed and enacted through the ostensibly banal, but highly political, effort to construct falconry as a 'heritage sport'. Taking the case of the United Arab Emirates, I argue that local elites have harnessed the global discourse of 'heritage' to construct an ethnicized and gendered vision of a primordial Arab homeland. Heritage discourses surrounding falconry play an important role in legitimating prevailing structural inequalities in Gulf societies, reaffirming the minority citizen-nationals' claims to 'ownership' of the state, as well as naturalizing the masculinist imaginings of desert landscapes. Also considering the transnational dimensions of a geopolitics of falconry, I show how these nationalist narratives relate to cross-regional networks between the Arabian Peninsula and Central Asia. I argue that Gulf Arab falconry practices are not essentially 'primordial', but are made possible by and reinforce political economic inequalities institutionalized by contemporary territorial regimes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)522-539
Number of pages18
JournalStudies in Ethnicity and Nationalism
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Gulf Nationalism and the Geopolitics of Constructing Falconry as a 'Heritage Sport''. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this