SOAS University of London

Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies

African home associations in Britain: Between political belonging and moral conviviality

Claire Mercer (LSE)

Date: 21 October 2008Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 21 October 2008Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: G51

Type of Event: Seminar

This paper argues that significant analytical and political possibilities for thinking about the African diaspora in Britain are opened up by shifting the analytical lens from ethnicity, to place. Drawing on recent research with Cameroonian and Tanzanian home associations in Britain I suggest that the concept of a 'progressive politics of place', which distinguishes between 'political belonging' and 'moral conviviality', can help us to explore the morality of convivial relations in the African diaspora. I highlight the ways in which home associations provide space for debate about what is an intrinsically good way to live together in the diaspora. However, if moral conviviality is about debating the right and wrong ways of living together in a place, then we need to think explicitly about the places inhabited by the diaspora. The paper addresses the ways in which home associations provide a space not only for debate among members, but also a forum for debating how to live in Britain.

(Joint seminar with Anthropology of Development)

Organiser: Dr. Parvathi Raman

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