This is a sociocultural linguistic study on the ways whereby language is used by residents, both natives and expats, of Qatar, a highly globalized country in the Gulf area. The motivation for this study is Arabic sociolinguist Reem Bassiouney's observation that issues of social stratification and how the latter is reflected on language in the Arab world, and most prominently in the Gulf countries, are under-researched. Against this backdrop and trying to fill in this gap, the described methodology combines linguistic ethnography with research on archives and books describing issues of social organization relevant to contemporary Qatari society. Linguistic ethnography is seen as 'a method of social research, [which] seeks to capture and understand the meanings and dynamics in particular cultural settings'. My study includes data from ethnographic interviews with 3 people, one Qatari, one Italian and one Indian, who have been working in Qatar for at least six months (in this way, they are familiar with the (working) context of the country). The questions used in the interviews focus on the participants' (socio)linguistic choices, lifestyle choices, ideologies, beliefs, and values. It is argued that social class, at the level of people's self-reflections is constructed via sociolinguistic upscaling, namely by alluding to higher-order scales, which create social norms and are thus associated with power. Such an upscaling is further argued to index upward mobility. What this means is that higher orders tend to be more abstract, hence more powerful, exactly because they are associated with rules and norms of the society. In a nutshell, the basic finding in this study is that upward mobility in class consciousness takes place sociolinguistically by alluding to power via upscaling. Finally, the overarching argument put forward is that globalization tends to metamorphose the very essence of social class, as it renders it mobile, in constant flux, and eventually a new system consisting of resemiotized identity units. The findings will appeal to both linguists and sociologists working in and on Qatar.


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