Doha, Qatar is a fascinating place to live, it is a country enjoying massive change thanks to the natural resources it enjoys (it has the world’s largest per capita production and proven reserves of oil and gas). Depending on the measure you look at, Qatar has often is said to have the highest GDP per capita in the world and it had the fastest growing economy in the world in 2010. This economic boom has driven an incredible revolution in all aspects of Qatari life – skyscrapers, shopping malls and even a ‘pearl’ island has been reclaimed from the sea. A few years ago, Qatar was a little known backwater, but now Qatar has won the right to host the 2022 World Cup and it has had an influential hand in the recent ‘Arab Spring’.
Yet, the economy is only a small part of the story; the country is ruled by an Emir (King), it is said to follow wahhabism (the often criticised form of Islam practised in Saudi Arabia), Qataris only form 15% (300,00) of the population (a population that has risen from around 22,000 in 1922 to 1.6 million today) and lastly, the small state enjoys close ties with the U.S and U.K.
Therefore it is definitely a rich (no pun intended) place for sociological exploration, I can imagine prominent structualist luminaries such as Emile Durkheim and Karl Marx being particularly interested in how the burgeoning nation state maintains a legitmacy to rule, how Islamic norms and values are co-exisiting alongide a largely capitalist model of economics and how the country adapts and changes to maintain it’s western friendly stance.
I hope to add lots of posts and examine Qatar based on my own observations and readings whilst grounding these within sociological theory…