Cross-border mobility, transnationality and ethnicity as resources: european Somalis’ post-migration mobility practices
Date de parution
Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Taylor & Francis, 2016/42/9/1455-1472
Based on a qualitative study, this article explores post-migration mobility practices developed by Somali women and men who have settled in Europe. It focuses on the ‘politics of mobility’, considering cross-border mobility an unequally distributed resource through which people access different forms of capital, and thus an element of social differentiation. The article reveals that respondents invest resources in places other than those where they acquired them, benefiting from a favourable symbolic exchange rate between the different places. Furthermore, while a significant part of the economic, social and cultural capital of these migrants is acquired within ethnically diversified contexts, it is mostly reinvested in networks and places where their Somali ethnicity becomes an asset—either in ethnically homogeneous networks or in activities that address Somali people's needs. Cross-border mobility, transnationality and ethnicity become core resources that enable these migrants to mobilise their capital where it can be valued most highly and to access advantageous social positions, thus fostering upward social mobility. The article argues that these strategies are less the result of an identity-based ethnic preference than a compensatory mechanism implemented by people who have few prospects of having their assets valued within the wider networks in their country of residence.
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