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Changing QatarCulture, Citizenship, and Rapid Modernization$
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Geoff Harkness

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781479889075

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479889075.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM NYU Press SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.nyu.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of NYU Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NYSO for personal use.date: 02 July 2022

Welcome to Doha

Welcome to Doha

(p.21) 1 Welcome to Doha
Changing Qatar

Geoff Harkness

NYU Press

This chapter serves as an introduction to Qatar and foreshadows the book’s primary themes. Set at a stand-up comedy performance, the scene provides a microcosm of Qatar’s transnational milieu. Reflecting Qatar’s conservative environment, most of the comedians are careful about what they say onstage. Qatar does not guarantee freedom of speech, and its government once sentenced a poet to life in prison for penning a few lines of prose it deemed offensive. The stand-up comedians develop strategic workarounds to subtly, and not so subtly, address controversial topics such as nationalism and citizens’ rights. There are also Qatari comedians whose status as nationals grants them considerable leeway onstage, illustrating the different worlds occupied by citizens and noncitizens in Doha.

Keywords:   Qatar, comedy, stand-up, nationalism

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