In a recent review the Times Higher Education Supplement praises Christopher Davidson’s latest book, Abu Dhabi: Oil and Beyond, writing, “Specialists and non-specialists will be treated to a critical yet deeply sympathetic account of the raison d’etre and very identity of the emirate, past and present.”
The review also points to Davidson’s description of Abu Dhabi’s development of a kind of tribal capitalism that integrates monarchic rule, old alliances, and concessions to modernization. However, beyond the economic achievement of Abu Dhabi and its political stability problems do exist:
Yet despite the success the allocative state has had in distributing great wealth generated by oil and more, and despite the loyalty the ruling family commands through its support for socially vital causes ranging from religion to history, culture and the environment, old and new problems remain. Davidson flags the issues of unresolved territorial disputes with neighbours, gross wealth inequalities within the federation, low local education levels and standards, lack of integration of nationals into the new economy, indecisive political reform, violations of human rights and media censorship.
In an earlier post in August we recounted how authorities in the United Arab Emirates delayed (and continue to delay) the book’s release due to increasingly stringent media censorship policies.