To read this content please select one of the options below:

Domains of privacy and hospitality in Arab Gulf homes

Rana Sobh (Qatar University, Doha, Qatar)
Russell Belk (York University, Toronto, Canada)

Journal of Islamic Marketing

ISSN: 1759-0833

Article publication date: 28 June 2011




The purpose of this paper is to report findings of an ethnographic study of homes in the Arab Gulf country of Qatar. The authors' analysis and contribution focuses on resolving the tension between privacy and hospitality in Qatari homes in the context of identity threats posed by an influx of Western modernity and its implications to marketers.


The study involves observation and in‐depth interviews with 24 middle‐class male and female home‐owning Qataris living in Doha. The analysis followed the logic of hermeneutic research.


It was found that values of privacy and hospitality are notably emphasized in Qatari homes. The authors discuss how these values coexist despite their glaring contradiction and also show that in this context privacy is used to reveal consumption and display status rather than to hide it away from the public arena.

Practical implications

With Qatar's collectivist orientation and strong gendered protectionism, marketing and advertising in the Gulf needs to be sensitive to these cultural practices.


By developing an understanding of the privacy/hospitality dialectic in Qatar, the paper provides insights into how these values are incorporated or resisted in the design and use of family homes in a modern era of increasing globalism and suggests implications for marketers.



Sobh, R. and Belk, R. (2011), "Domains of privacy and hospitality in Arab Gulf homes", Journal of Islamic Marketing, Vol. 2 No. 2, pp. 125-137.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Related articles