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Research Unit Workshop: Social Inequalities in the Gulf and Beyond

6-7 February 2023, New York University, Abu Dhabi


Research on social inequalities has been on the rise in the past decade, demonstrating the persistence and widening of inequality at the global scale. It has also been increasingly interdisciplinary – spanning a variety of fields, from sociology to health and environmental studies – as well as intersectional. While classical approaches have focused on income or education, current research explores how factors such as gender, race, ethnicity, or geographical location contribute to shaping the unequal distribution of resources and opportunities. In this context, the COVID-19 pandemic has operated both as a revelator and an intensifier of social inequalities, and has heightened hierarchies of exposure to the virus as well as of access to care.

On February 6-7,  2023 the second conference of the research unit took place at the New York University of Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) with the goal of initiating a dialogue between the members of the research unit „The Production and Reproduction of Social Inequalities”  and NYUAD faculty members and students working on inequality. The workshop was co-organized by Laure Assaf, Professor of the Crossroads Studies and Anthropology, and the members of the research unit.

Conversations took place over two days, with the first day focused on the conceptual frameworks and methodologies of researching inequality; and the second day dedicated to looking at inequality through a specific focus, first through the prism of the global COVID-19 pandemic; and second, with a regional focus on the Gulf and Arabian Peninsula.

After the conference the members of the research unit made several excursions to the field sites of Dr. Jonathan Ngeh and Prof. Michaela Pelican who introduced the group to some of their interlocutors in Abu Dhabi and Dubai as well as to the different spaces where African migrants work and live in the United Arab Emirates.

Besides the program of the conference and a conference report written by Paula Rosenfeld the following section also includes short field notes and impressions of the excursions to the different field sites.

Documents and Pictures



The workshop focused on the conceptual frameworks and methodologies of researching inequality.
Conference Report

Conference Report

A small report of the two conference days has been written by Paula Rosenfeld.


After the conference - what did we encounter? Fieldnotes from the excursions.

This Research Unit is funded by the Volkswagen Foundation