Can you have a single culture in populations dominated by expats?

By official estimates, the population of Dubai and the rest of the United Arab Emirates is 80 percent expatriate and 20 percent Emirati. How do you create a common identity -- a common culture -- in a nation of hyperpolyglots. 

In New Statesman, Sukriti Yadava explores

Because no matter how one defines culture – a unique set of behaviours and traditions ingrained into the people of the nation; the group of histories and events that a nation chooses to identify with – it is always rooted in the past.

In the case of Dubai, however, most expats seem to practice the ideal of “living in the present”. Dubai’s modern cultural markers aren’t particularly visible or tangible, and they aren’t pegged to the past: old cobblestone streets, or pierogi recipes passed from grandmother to granddaughter, or kitschy memorabilia from old movies.

Instead, the culture of Dubai is more psychological, a utopian vision shared by its nomadic residents, at times naïve, but reportedly happy. And while this modern culture brewing in Dubai may seem invisible, it exists all the same.