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Development and the African Diaspora: Place and the Politics of Home

Development and the African Diaspora: Place and the Politics of Home (Paperback)

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There has been much recent celebration of the success of African 'civil society' in forging global connections through an ever-growing diaspora. Against the background of such celebrations, this innovative book sheds light on the diasporic networks - 'home associations' - whose economic contributions are being used to develop home. Despite these networks being part of the flow of migrants' resources back to Africa that now outweighs official development assistance, the relationship between the flow of capital and social and political change are still poorly understood.

Looking in particular at Cameroon and Tanzania, the authors examine the networks of migrants that have been created by making 'home associations' international. They argue that claims in favour of enlarging 'civil society' in Africa must be placed in the broader context of the political economy of migration and wider debates concerning ethnicity and belonging. They demonstrate both that diasporic development is distinct from mainstream development, and that it is an uneven historical process in which some 'homes' are better placed to take advantage of global connections than others.

In doing so, the book engages critically with the current enthusiasm among policy-makers for treating the African diaspora as an untapped resource for combating poverty. Its focus on diasporic networks, rather than private remittances, reveals the particular successes and challenges diasporas face in acting as a group, not least in mobilising members of the diaspora to fulfill obligations to home.

Ben Page is a lecturer at UCL. Much of his work has focused on water supply in West Africa as a way of linking different histories and places to broader development questions about communities, the state, infrastructure, services, participatory governance, deliberative democracy and the transformation of the landscape. Claire Mercer is a Lecturer in Geography at the University of Leicester, UK. Over the last ten years she has undertaken research in Tanzania and, more recently, Cameroon, and has published on the changing character and work of associational life (NGOs, hometown associations); geographies of governance with a focus on civil society and partnership. Martin Evans did his postgraduate studies in Geography at the School of Oriental and African Studies and King's College London. Besides diasporas and development, his research examines the complex intersections of conflict, natural resources and livelihoods in sub-Saharan Africa.

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