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The Vagaries of the In-Between: Labor Citizenship in the Persian Gulf

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submitted on 2023-03-15, 11:53 and posted on 2023-07-16, 07:16 authored by Zahra R. Babar

There is no precise English equivalent to this Hindustani proverb. A rolling stone gathers no moss, between the devil and the deep blue sea, between a rock and a hard place, torn between two masters—none of these really fit. The dhobi ka kuta is the dog who figuratively and literally runs every day between two places, two obligations, and two choices. Does he stay behind to guard the master's house or does he guard his master as he washes clothes by the river? There will be a trade-off either way. The phrase does not conjure up vagabond restlessness or nomadic liberation. It evokes the anxiety of rootlessness, and the lack of certainty about choice and loyalty. It is about the doubt cast your way for not picking one thing over the other. It is about being stuck in the vagaries of the in-between. 

Other information

Published in: International Journal of Middle East Studies
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0
See article on publisher's website: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0020743820001075

History

Language

  • English

Publisher

Cambridge University Press

Publication Year

  • 2020

License statement

This Item is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Institution affiliated with

  • Georgetown University in Qatar
  • Center for International and Regional Studies - GU-Q

Geographic coverage

Middle East

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