Mobility has a strong and deep cultural and sociological foundation in Qatar and the Arabian Gulf region. Historically nomadic, Bedouin tribes and their traditions have significantly shaped the lifestyle and values of the Gulf states. Moreover, a heritage of oral interpersonal communication also plays a significant role in the region, with a rich tradition oratory and storytelling. Whether in the form of the majlis, Arab for “place of sitting,” or in a mosque, interpersonal communication has featured prominently in Islamic societies, while mass media and other mediated communication were slow to develop. The convergence of technological innovations, such as mobile media and communications, is therefore not a surprising development and makes Qatar and the UAE the ideal setting for the groundbreaking research reported in this book and introduced in Chapter 1.

The structure and features of this chapter include an introduction, as well as discussion of the cultural and historical context for mobility and communication in Qatar and the Gulf region.