Milena Belloni, former “hominger” and now FWO Research Fellow at the University of Antwerp, has recently published an OA paper on transnational and diasporic housing, based on her HOMInG fieldwork in Eritrea. The paper, Remittance Houses and Transnational Citizenship: Mapping Eritrea’s Diaspora–State Relationships, is part of a Special Issue of African Spectrum co-edited by T. Muller and M. Belloni. See the abstract below.
Belloni M. Remittance Houses and Transnational Citizenship: Mapping Eritrea’s Diaspora–State Relationships. Africa Spectrum. 2021; 56(1): 59-80. doi:10.1177/00020397211003101
Can diaspora houses be used as a site to explore transnational citizenship? Based on ethnographic fieldwork in Eritrea, this article shows that different kinds of remittance houses reify different categories of transnational citizens with various sets of rights and duties. Drawing on studies on state–diaspora relations and remittance houses, I illustrate the key role that housing plays in the Eritrean state’s efforts to build a loyal diaspora. By looking at housing projects (state-led and individual) over the last thirty years, the article shows how different groups of emigrants – based on their relationship to the state of origin as well as their status in their country of residence – have been more or less able to realise their aspirations to build a house back home. By doing this, I show the importance of considering remittance houses as not only transnational cultural artefacts but also political claims to membership