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‘Whenever mom hands over the phone, then we talk’: Transnational ties to the country of descent among Canadian Somali youth

Marja Tiilikainen


This article focuses on the transnational experiences of second-generation Canadian Somalis, in particular their social ties to Somalia. It sheds light on the transnational family relations and practices of the second generation as well as the meanings, emotions and identifications that they attach to such relations and practices. The concepts of transnational ways of being and belonging are employed as analytical tools. In their everyday life, the youth engaged in family practices (communication, remittances, visits) related to Somalia, which was mostly nurtured by their parents’ transnationalism. The youth did not often identify with transnational kin beyond such practices. However, they did combine transnational ways of being and belonging in a dynamic and complex manner. The article is based on 19 interviews with second-generation youth, which were conducted as part of a larger study on transnational Somali families.


Canadian Somalis; second generation; transnational family; transnational ways of being; transnational ways of belonging

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