Accepted Paper:

Ghanacoop case: diasporic discourses and localised practices of co-development  


Selenia Marabello (University of Bologna)

Paper short abstract:

Exploring the case of a co-development project born within the Ghanaian Migrant Association of Modena (Italy), I will argue that migrants' associations, involved in co-development, reveal themselves as new crucial actors within the public sphere of both sending and receiving countries.

Paper long abstract:

This paper is based on a PhD research currently in progress. Presenting the case of Ghanacoop, which is a co-operative enterprise recently born within the Modena Ghanaian Migrant Association, I will attempt to demonstrate how co-development initiatives depend on the practices with which the migrants' associations are actively incorporated in the local contexts, rather than on presumed and characterised trends of migration. Furthermore, assuming that the concept of scale allows us to take into consideration locality and its interaction with power hierarchies I suggest that scale's theorisation can be an analytical tool to describe migrant'associations engagement in development.

The ghanaian migrant association, initially established to fulfil specific member needs during their first period of settlement, has become a political laboratory for reflections on migration, diasporic actors and development. Ghanacoop has been the concrete opportunity to gain access to the public sphere in Italy and in Ghana. In addition, this opportunity has enhanced the status of its leaders in both sending and receiving countries.

Migrants' associations, incorporated in local contexts, move as a new actor on the transnational political space that they contribute to define. Ghanacoop is characterised by economic, social and political criteria on the transnational landscape through development and diasporic discourses, and acts as development broker directing political negotiation, capital flows and social remittances towards communities and individuals. Thus this new actor needs to be observed investigating the power relations it holds and is embedded in within the local contexts in Ghana and Italy, within the 'diasporic communities' and in relation to ghanaian and foreign migrants' associations.

Panel W088
Migrant associations in Europe: simultaneous incorporation, everyday cosmopolitanisms and actually existing citizenship