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Peace Makers or Peace Wreckers?

Understanding the Somali Diaspora


Claudia Annovi



Abstract


Since the twentieth century, several exogenous and endogenous changes have shifted the political landscape for diasporas, especially in war-prone countries like Somalia. As such, this has resulted in multiple resources investigating the nature of diasporas, the role they play in homeland situations and the nexus with the conflict. Nevertheless, diasporas are often depicted as conflict-generated transnational communities and homogeneous groups, an approach which leads to flawed and skewed perspective of the phenomenon.

This paper will critically analyze the diversified political engagement of Somali diasporas that interact in distinctive ways and at different levels within their home countries, due to their fragmentation in space, time and goals. Specifically, it takes into consideration the different activities endorsed by the Somali diaspora — distinguished between financial contributions and military and political involvement — to underline that Somali diasporic groups are highly heterogeneous and can contribute both to conflict perpetuation as well as post-conflict reconstruction.


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