Forging a ‘good diaspora’: Political mobilization among Somalis in the UK

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This article is about a campaign that was initiated by Somalis in London in 2013 against Barclays Bank's decision to shut down the accounts of four Somali remittance companies in the UK. It explores how young Somalis mobilized politically around the issue, and how, in the process, they created and reified a particular ‘imagined community’. By drawing on multicultural notions of community, and development idioms of diaspora engagement, they fashioned themselves around a notion of ‘good diaspora’ based on generation, pan-Somali unity, and ideas of ‘professionalism’. In so doing, they were able to mobilize politically as both national and transnational actors, but were also confronted with some of the limits of the ‘good diaspora’ identity category. This article establishes a dialogue between the literature on diaspora engagement and that on migrant political mobilization by exploring how young Somalis navigate across these different national and transnational conversations, discourses and social categories.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)146-169
JournalDevelopment and change
Issue number1
Early online date13 Oct 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018

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