Transnational Active Citizens: Theorising the experiences of young Somali males in London

Hassan, Mohamed Aden. 2014. Transnational Active Citizens: Theorising the experiences of young Somali males in London. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

This thesis focuses on young Somali males in London and their transnational engagements. It offers a critical intervention within the literature on forced migration, diaspora, transnationalism, citizenship, intergenrational acculturation and masculinity and challenges existing definitions, concepts and approaches employed in this work. It further unpacks the dominant narrative of ‘citizen suspects’ associated with young British Somali men: it, thus, addresses a gap generally overlooked by diaspora and transnational theories, which commonly focus on the problematised participation of young migrants. It offers a more nuanced approach to youth migration highlighting various social and structural interactions between host-societies, diaspora communities and generations in the UK. The research seeks to engage with four key questions that have been largely overlooked in the literature:

1) What are young people’s understandings of notions of ‘belonging’ and ‘home’?;
2) How do young people perceive their place in society, deal with the challenges that they
face and become active citizens while forging (united) voices?;
3) How do intergenerational matters affect young people?
4) How do young people’s networks function at the local and transnational level and how are these sustained?

Through semi-structured interviews, focus groups and participant observation, the research frames young Somali men as active citizens by shedding new light onto how they understand and construct their social, political, civic and religious spaces both locally and transnationally. In so doing, it offers a more balanced account with regards to notions of home and belonging. It contributes to research on Somali diaspora(s) in general, and its youth more specifically, as well as their more grounded transnational engagements. It unravels the complexities of intergenerational issues and reveals how young Somalis manage multiple notions of belonging, whilst negotiating broader diaspora and transnational engagements. It concludes that young people’s broader experiences and adopted social positions are firmly shaped by their historical context, interactions with their immediate social environment and more broadly the host-society and transnational narratives. Such experiences are fluid, varied and interactive usually dictating the delicate balance and outcome of reception and rejection in the host-society. Whilst the focus of the thesis is on young Somali males, there are wider theoretical implications for the study of diaspora, transnationalism and citizenship.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Sociology > Centre for Urban and Community Research (CUCR)


19 August 2014

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

26 Aug 2014 15:43

Last Modified:

08 Sep 2022 09:02


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