Development and the African Diaspora: Place and the Politics by Claire Mercer

By Claire Mercer

This cutting edge booklet examines the connection among African "civil society" and "home organization" networks within the diaspora. Remittances domestic through those networks outweigh reputable improvement assistance.  having a look particularly at Cameroon and Tanzania, the authors argue that development "civil society" in Africa needs to be understood in tandem with the political economic climate of migration and wider debates bearing on ethnicity and belonging. They show either that diasporic improvement is precise from mainstream improvement, and that it really is an asymmetric historic procedure within which a few '"homes" are higher put to exploit international connections than others. In doing so, the ebook engages seriously with the present enthusiasm between policy-makers for treating the African diaspora as an untapped source for struggling with poverty.

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Extra resources for Development and the African Diaspora: Place and the Politics of Home

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We argue against the 30 • WHY HOME ASSOCIATIONS MATTER epistemological separation of mobility inside and outside of Africa within the migration–development nexus because it obscures continuities and tends to underplay the significance of movement within the continent. In Part Two (‘The history and structure of home associations’) the focus shifts to the four case studies. Chapters 4 (on Cameroon) and 5 (on Tanzania) outline the history of migrants’ associational life in each country and show how these national and local contexts have shaped the character of the particular migrants’ associations linked to each case study.

Local politics too has an influence over the effectiveness of home associations as development agents. The second-wave democratization of the 1990s boosted the capacity of some Cameroonian home associations as they became an important mechanism through which the incumbent political party retained power. The increase in resources that flowed through home associations in this context enabled them to deliver more development goods. Issues of identity are also key to explaining why some home associations have more development capacity than others.

Ethnic groups will not 16 • WHY HOME ASSOCIATIONS MATTER evaporate merely because their histories have been revealed or their changing characteristics have been demonstrated. An affiliation to one ethnic group or more is deeply embedded in an individual’s consciousness, so the idea of a group creates its own social reality. It is the potency of this felt attachment that makes ethnicity so vulnerable to manipulation. An ethnic group is an ‘imagined community’ that is too large for personal contact between all the different individuals, but it is united by the belief that it embodies a unique set of cultural and historical features (language, religion, values, material culture, ceremony, political structure), which all members hold in common (Anderson, 1991).

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