What is it about?

The main question being asked in the study is whether Pakistani cabbies face racial and class discrimination from their passengers in Dubai. Previous studies conducted in Western cities such as New York and London indicated that South Asian drivers face a plethora of discrimination by passengers. I wanted to see if Dubai would reveal a similar trend found in these Western cities. Interestingly, however, Dubai diverges quite drastically from this discrimination phenomenon present in the West. After conducting qualitative interviews of 19 Pakistani taxi drivers, three broad categories/results were revealed. These categories elucidated that racial discrimination faced by drivers was little to none, while class discrimination was present but only to a limited extent.

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Why is it important?

As this is the first study of its kind to be conducted in Dubai, it bridges the literature gap between East and West. Furthermore, the study is unique as its results drastically differ from the studies conducted in Western cities. This could also be a "breakthrough" study as it might motivate other academics to further research taxi drivers and discrimination in Dubai. The research also introduces new avenues that can be studied in the future by academics. For example, why Dubai differs from Western cities in terms of discrimination faced by taxi drivers.


I hope this article gives insight into the life of a taxi driver in one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world, Dubai. Although, the drivers stated that passengers are usually not bothersome, most of them remain unhappy due to systemic pressures and the hard life most working class individuals face in UAE. I wanted this article to give them a voice. Furthermore, i hope this article motivates the academia to begin studying Dubai and other Middle Eastern and Asian cities with regards to discrimination faced by taxi drivers. Lastly, I am proud to have conducted this research and bridged the literature gap between East and West (but this is only the beginning).

Sarmad Ishfaq

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Dubai’s taxi-ng life: Pakistani cab drivers & perceptions of discrimination from passengers, Social Identities, October 2019, Taylor & Francis,
DOI: 10.1080/13504630.2019.1671186.
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