Diaspora and development? Nigerian organizations in London and the transnational politics of belongi


Through a particular focus on the politics of belonging, I explore in this article the extent to which London-based Nigerian organizations perform the progressive role expected of them in globalizing discourses of diaspora and development. The interplay between national and sub-national, geo-ethnic visions of belonging and development has fundamental implications for viability of the Nigerian state. In the ways they mobilize identity ‘abroad’ and make transnational interventions at ‘home’, London-based Nigerian diaspora organizations can reproduce a pervasive and insidiously divisive politics of belonging that is widely seen to undermine the Nigerian project. However, these organizations and their transnational interventions can also transcend the ethnicized boundaries of belonging to articulate and pursue visions of Nigeria's national development. While they are involved in the politics of belonging and the progress of ‘home’ in ways that are clearly much more ambivalent than globalizing discourses of diaspora and development might hope, their potential for contributing to a unified and prosperous Nigeria should not be dismissed.


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