Habitus in Transition? CMC use and impacts among young women in the United Arab Emirates


  • James Piecowye

    Corresponding author
    1. Instructor in the College of Communication and Media Sciences at Zayed University in Dubai, United Arab Emitrates. He has been involved in the creation of Zayed University's Center for Media Research and Training and is currently working on a project to introduce media literacy to the United Arab Emirates KG-12 education curriculum. He has recently been researching and writing about the changing role and structure of the mass media in the United Arab Emirates. He will defend his doctoral dissertation on the conflict of culture and commerce in Canadian feature film policy at University of Montreal this coming April.
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Address: Zayed University, College of Communication and Media Sciences, Zayed University, Box 19282, Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Ph. +9714 2082455 Fax +9714 2640854.


This paper considers the impact of computer-mediated communication on the culture of the United Arab Emirates via the results of a brief study. The larger question being asked is if the very culture of the nation might be recast through the use of computer-mediated communication. While my survey was limited and thus the results preliminary, they contradict the view that CMC technologies will inevitably reshape “target” cultures as these technologies impose especially Western cultural values and communication preferences. Rather, my analysis suggests that UAE women students are more directly affected by consumerism as a culture dominating the Internet. More broadly, my students stand as examples of users who can consciously chose what elements of global cultures they wish to appropriate while they simultaneously insist on preserving their own cultural values and practices.