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In this article, we have brought a postcolonial theoretical lens to the analysis of

British expatriate discourses and practices in Dubai, by focusing on the imaginative

geographies that contribute to the maintenance of separate socialising practices in the

pre-and post-Federation periods. In the Emirates, although the colonial past was

partial and its acknowledgement contested, our findings confirm that traces of British

imperialism, notably a sense of superiority, or that ‘long trail of racial arrogance’ left

by Empire (Morris 1978: 551), persist today in Dubai as a postcolonial city and are to

be found in the complex ways in which cultural difference is understood and

mapped. Therefore, it has proved useful to question the imaginative geographies that

shape expatriates’ interactions with Emiratis in Dubai. Our comparative analysis of

the dis/continuities in British expatriate identities pre-and post-Federation, based on

studying three everyday cultural practices, suggests that imaginative geographies of

Self and Other serve to foster the separateness of socialising practices.