Navigating the spectacle: Landscapes of consumption in Dubai

Yasser Elsheshtawy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Dubai seems to exemplify the modern urban condition of the spectacle. The city is defined by its luxurious commercial character. Yet alternative spaces of consumption do exist, slipping between the cracks of the carefully maintained image of the city. This article uncovers these hidden spaces of consumption and contrasts them with the city's spectacular retail spaces. By juxtaposing the spectacular and the everyday I hope to offer a more balanced view of a globalizing city by arguing that citizens are not passive recipients of 'spectacular images' but that particular forms of circumvention do emerge. The increased emphasis on exclusive developments within Dubai, and its influence on the wider Middle East, suggests the potential danger of such spectacular modes of urbanism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)164-187
Number of pages24
JournalArchitectural Theory Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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