The Somali Community in Minneapolis: Expectations and Realities

Book chapter

Horst, Cindy (2007) The Somali Community in Minneapolis: Expectations and Realities, in From Mogadishu to Dixon: The Somali Diaspora in a Global Context. Trenton, NJ: The Red Sea Press

This book represents the first attempt to map the social and cultural contours of the Somali diaspora in a global context. Using case studies from Somali communities in Africa, Europe, and North America, the contributors to this volume construct a global framework for studying the Somali diaspora. This framework simultaneously compares dispersed Somalis in different cultural, economic, political, and racial contexts, and captures the fluid, transnational context of the Somali diaspora. The central questions that guide this book are: How do these contexts inform the production and maintenance of Somali diaspora formation? Consequently, how do the making and remaking of diasporic identities affect local Somali communities, the global diaspora community, host societies as well as the homeland communities they left behind? In this specific chapter, Horst analyses the expectations that Somalis in Minneapolis face, from relatives and international actors, in light of the realities of their lives in the USA. She first briefly outlines the increased international interest amongst development thinkers and practitioners in the transnational activities of migrants. Then, she illustrates how refugees in the region also have various high expectations of their relatives in resettlement countries. Then, background information is provided on the Somali community in Minneapolis and then the different activities they engage in that link them to the region; involving flows of remittances, people and information. In conclusion, the chapter analyses the discrepancies between expectations and opportunities and how Somalis in Minneapolis deal with these discrepancies.

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