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 (75kB)
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 Item
ISSN: 1472-3409
Keywords: Diaspora; Ghana; Development; Obligation; Citizenship; Hometowns
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Politics, Philosophy, Economics, Development, Geography
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
Research Group: Innovation, Knowledge & Development research centre (IKD)
OpenSpace Research Centre (OSRC)
Related URLs:
Item ID: 4140
Depositing User: Giles Mohan
Date Deposited: 04 Jul 2006
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2017 11:10
Share this page:


Altmetrics from Altmetric

Citations from Dimensions

Download history for this item

These details should be considered as only a guide to the number of downloads performed manually. Algorithmic methods have been applied in an attempt to remove automated downloads from the displayed statistics but no guarantee can be made as to the accuracy of the figures.

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   contact the OU