Transnational Somali Families in Cairo

Author's Department

Social Research Center (SRC)

Find in your Library

All Authors

Mulki Al-Sharmani

Document Type

Research Article

Publication Title

Refuge: Canada’s Journal on Refugees

Publication Date

Winter 1-1-2007



In this article, I examine how diasporic Somalis in Cairo experience being part of transnational families. I analyze two practices through which transnational family relations are maintained, experienced, and negotiated: (1) living arrangements of relatives and management of family affairs and (2) the use of the Internet and videotapes. I argue that transnational families make collective decisions about which family members live together, where, and what their family obligations should be. However, although maintaining interdependent transnational families is crucial for the survival of family members, it has its tensions and challenges because of the competing interests and dreams of individual members. I examine these tensions and how they are negotiated by family members who live together in Cairo but share resources and family obligations with relatives living elsewhere. In short, this way of being and living in which individuals and families partake as they are physically separated in different nation-states has its uneven consequences and challenges for different Somalis depending on their legal statuses, education, gender, and identity claims.

First Page


Last Page


This document is currently not available here.