The Open UniversitySkip to content

Embedded cosmopolitanism and the politics of obligation: the Ghanaian diaspora and development

Mohan, Giles (2006). Embedded cosmopolitanism and the politics of obligation: the Ghanaian diaspora and development. Environment and Planning A, 38(5) pp. 867–883.

Full text available as:
PDF (Not Set) - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Download (73Kb)
DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link:
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


The paper analyses how identities and obligations operate within the spaces of transnational communities and how this affects development. Within spatially diffuse communities identities are fluid and overlapping, as are the obligations to multiple others - be that kin, ethnic group or nation – in different localities. The paper is concerned with the institutions through which these identities are formed and obligations are realised. These include families, clans, hometown associations, and religious organisations, which link people ‘abroad’ to people ‘at home’. I understand these spaces as a form of public sphere involving a ‘deterritorialised’ citizenship, which has been termed ‘embedded cosmopolitanism’. In this way obligations are not legally defined but operate as part of the moral universe of those concerned. The case study is based upon recent fieldwork on Ghanaians in the UK and their connections to other Ghanaians outside Ghana and to those at home. Research reveals how these complex networks of affiliation operate as well as the ways in which the state seeks to ‘capture’ support from them and how migrants selectively redefine both ethnic identities and family boundaries.

Item Type: Journal Article
ISSN: 1472-3409
Keywords: Diaspora; Ghana; Development; Obligation; Citizenship; Hometowns
Academic Unit/Department: Mathematics, Computing and Technology > Engineering & Innovation
Interdisciplinary Research Centre: Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance (CCIG)
OpenSpace Research Centre (OSRC)
Innovation, Knowledge & Development research centre (IKD)
Related URLs:
Item ID: 4140
Depositing User: Giles Mohan
Date Deposited: 04 Jul 2006
Last Modified: 05 Dec 2010 05:40
Share this page:


Scopus Citations

Actions (login may be required)

View Item
Report issue / request change

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   + 44 (0)870 333 4340