Happy Birthday, UAE!

The United Arab Emirates are celebrating another National Day! And they are doing it in style! I was lucky to enter the country exactly on its 40th birthday and so thought I should share the celebrations with Language-on-the-Move readers here in a series of images. The slogan of this year’s celebrations is ‘The spirit of the union’ and it’s amazing to see ‘The spirit of the union’ expressed on buildings, in the streetscape, and even as food. I’ve often written about discourses of banal nationalism and how they have become inextricably intertwined with the promotion of consumption.[1]These flamboyant images testify to the complex relationship between the state promotion of nationalism, the corporate sponsorship of nationalism and the personal expression of national pride through consumption. Enjoy!

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[1] See, for instance, Chapter 5 of Intercultural Communication (which is now available for preview on Amazon, btw)

Author Ingrid Piller

Dr Ingrid Piller is Professor of Applied Linguistics at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia. Ingrid’s research expertise is in the fields of intercultural communication, bilingual education and the sociolinguistics of language learning and multilingualism in the contexts of migration and globalization.

More posts by Ingrid Piller
  • khan

    Thanks Ingrid for allowing us to participate virtually in the national+ corporate fervor on the national day celeberations of UAE. The corporate world is often very quick on capitalizing the sentiments of people be it sports event or Independence Day celebrations. I am sure you must have noticed the humanitarian works the airlines claim to be doing in the developing world.
    What fascinates me most in these streetscapes is the asymmetry in power relationship between languages. They are often very successful in constructing public linguistic homogeneity through selecting and giving visibility to a particular language over many. The usual explanation is that it is our norm!
    Happy national day to all friends in UAE.