The Early Morning Phonecall

The Early Morning Phonecall: Somali Refugees' Remittances

Anna Lindley
Copyright Date: 2010
Edition: DGO - Digital original, 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 192
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  • Book Info
    The Early Morning Phonecall
    Book Description:

    As migration from poverty-stricken and conflict-affected countries continues to hit the headlines, this book focuses on an important counter-flow: the money that people send home. Despite considerable research on the impact of migration and remittances in countries of origin - increasingly viewed as a source of development capital - still little is known about refugees' remittances to conflict-affected countries because such funds are most often seen as a source of conflict finance. This book explores the dynamics, infrastructure, and far-reaching effects of remittances from the perspectives of people in the Somali regions and the diaspora. With conflict driving mass displacement, Somali society has become progressively transnational, its vigorous remittance economy reaching from the heart of the global North into wrecked cities, refugee camps, and remote rural areas. By 'following the money' the author opens a window on the everyday lives of people caught up in processes of conflict, migration, and development. The book demonstrates how, in the interstices of state disruption and globalisation, and in the shadow of violence and political uncertainty, life in the Somali regions goes on, subject to complex transnational forms of social, economic, and political innovation and change.

    eISBN: 978-1-84545-832-4
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Illustrations and Tables
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Acknowledgements
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Abbreviations
    (pp. xi-xii)
  6. Chapter 1 Migration, Conflict and Development: Situating Refugeesʹ Remittances
    (pp. 1-18)

    In a drawer in her London home, Farhiya¹ keeps a plastic box crammed with small papers. One afternoon she was telling me about her family, and she brought out the box. The papers are receipts for money she – like many Somalis – has sent to relatives and friends during her life in the UK. As we sorted through them, it soon became clear that over the last few years she had sent several thousand pounds. She was used to the phone ringing early in the morning as relatives tried to catch her before she left the house for work....

  7. Chapter 2 The Somali Context: People and Money on the Move
    (pp. 19-52)

    While now scattered all over the world, Somali people are concentrated in an area in the Horn of Africa that stretches from the far north-east corner into modern-day Djibouti, the Ogaden region of Ethiopia and northern Kenya. People have been on the move within and beyond these territories for centuries. In this context, this chapter provides a broad historical perspective on migration and remitting. The first part explores continuities and changes in mobility patterns over time, tracing inward and outward migration through Somali history, from the long-running patterns of nomadism and rural and urban settlement, to colonial and regional connections...

  8. Chapter 3 Migration and Remittances in a Precarious State: the View from Hargeisa
    (pp. 53-90)

    In 2005, a mutual friend introduced me to Mohamed, who had recently graduated from the university in Hargeisa. He grew up in a small town and was still a child when the civil war began, but old enough to remember seeing government forces harassing and abusing local people. His father was killed in the army backlash on the civilian population, and his eldest brother joined the Somali National Movement and was killed in combat. After this he fled with his mother and younger sisters to live in a refugee camp in Ethiopia. His older brother and sisters went to stay...

  9. Chapter 4 Traffic at a Global Crossroads: Eastleigh, Nairobi
    (pp. 91-114)

    I met Rhoda, a mother of seven in her early forties, in Kenya in 2005. She was living with her children in a small flat in Nairobiʹs bustling Eastleigh district, known in Swahili asMogadishu ndogo(little Mogadishu), which has a reputation for thriving business activity, dilapidated infrastructure and crime. Her family had moved when she was young because of thedabadheerdrought, and settled in southern Somalia. She married a well-educated man and the family were doing well. But when the war broke out the family business and home were looted. The militia killed her father and brothers. She...

  10. Chapter 5 The North–South Divide in Everyday Life: Londoners Sending Money ʹHomeʹ
    (pp. 115-144)

    These views, the first from KʹNaan, a Somali-Canadian musician, and the second from Shamsa, a single mother struggling to make ends meet in London, neatly capture the ambiguous feelings that soon become apparent when people talk about sending money ʹhomeʹ. A relative minority of the Somali regionsʹ ʹmissing millionʹ have settled in the global North, but previous chapters have shown that they provide the bulk of remittance funds. A key node in global trade and finance, London has also witnessed ʹglobalisation from belowʹ: by the beginning of the twenty-first century over one-third of the workforce was born abroad (GLA 2005)....

  11. Chapter 6 Concluding Reflections
    (pp. 145-150)

    The diasporisation of Somali society and the emergence of a vigorous remittance economy were never part of anyoneʹs normative vision for the development of the Somali regions. Instead, it is the result of the failure of official development plans, violent political disintegration, the forces of globalisation and containment and the cumulative actions of hundreds of thousands of individuals affected by these processes. Nevertheless, remittances and other transnational linkages shape the lives of many people, and so enter into debates about progress in the Somali regions as well as discussions about social change. This chapter briefly draws together the key themes...

  12. Glossary
    (pp. 151-152)
  13. References
    (pp. 153-168)
  14. Index
    (pp. 169-180)