Arpitha Peteru


In today’s age of expanding urbanization, it seems that no corner of the world is spared from sprouting metropolises - all aspiring to emulate the modern American city. In this aspiration, these cities direct all available resources to creating a solid infrastructure, advancing and developing technologically, building ample job opportunities, fostering as much capital as possible and so forth, all with the singular goal of cultivating a flourishing economy. The capitalist model has well extended from its status as an economic model to become the ideal model for modern society as a whole. This means that today, society is primarily striving to achieve a state of ever-increasing economic growth, as per capitalism. Regardless of its feasibility, such a goal entails a society that is principally centered on personal gain. But with this immense focus on the individual and individual wealth, are we compromising something even bigger than the individual? Using Dubai as a case study, this essay argues that indeed, modernization is diminishing social solidarity and thereby, alienating the citizen from the larger society. Emile Durkheim’s theories are explored and applied to assert that the hyper-individualism that is prevalent in current society has overwhelmed the individual’s sense of identity and belonging. The main question here is: is the trade off worth it? How can one resolve this apparent paradox that the aspects that appear to provide the most happiness for us, i.e., monetary gain, personal success, are the same aspects that seem to beget depressed feelings of loneliness and isolation? In many ways, this inquiry is a direct result of modernity, and is arguably the question of our time.

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