Sign up for our Email Newsletter Berghahn Books Logo

berghahn New York · Oxford

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Youtube
  • Instagram
Mobile Urbanity: Somali Presence in Urban East Africa

View Table of Contents

Volume 20

Integration and Conflict Studies

Email Newsletters

Sign up for our email newsletters to get customized updates on new Berghahn publications.

Click here to select your preferences

Mobile Urbanity

Somali Presence in Urban East Africa

Edited by Neil Carrier and Tabea Scharrer
Afterword by Günther Schlee

264 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78920-296-0 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (July 2019)

eISBN 978-1-78920-297-7 eBook

Hb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook! $29.95 Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“This is an important book and one that is sorely needed… it corrects a misperception that Somalis are mainly pastoralists, when in fact they have a long tradition of living in towns and engaging in non-pastoral livelihoods, such as commerce.” • Peter D. Little, Emory University


The increased presence of Somalis has brought much change to East African towns and cities in recent decades, change that has met with ambivalence and suspicion, especially within Kenya. This volume demystifies Somali residence and mobility in urban East Africa, showing its historical depth, and exploring the social, cultural and political underpinnings of Somali-led urban transformation. In so doing, it offers a vivid case study of the transformative power of (forced) migration on urban centres, and the intertwining of urbanity and mobility. The volume will be of interest for readers working in the broader field of migration, as well as anthropology and urban studies.

Neil Carrier is a Lecturer in Social Anthropology at the University of Bristol (UK). He has worked on a number of themes related to transnational trade and commodities, and to the impact of migration on East Africa. His most recent book is an ethnography of Nairobi’s Eastleigh estate, home to a large proportion of Kenya’s urban Somali population.

Tabea Scharrer is currently working at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle (Germany), doing research with Somali migrants in Kenyan urban centres and in Europe. She wrote her dissertation on Muslim Missionary Movements and Conversion to Islam at the Free University in Berlin.

Subject: Refugee and Migration Studies Anthropology (General) Urban Studies
Area: Africa


List of Illustrations
List of Abbreviations


Introduction: Mobile Urbanity: Somali Presence in Urban East Africa
Tabea Scharrer and Neil Carrier

Interlude: Being and Becoming Mobile
Yusuf Hassan


Chapter 1. The Somali Factor in Urban Kenya: A History
Hannah Whittaker

Chapter 2. The Port and the Island: Cosmopolitan and Vernacular Identity Constructions among Somali Women in Nairobi and Johannesburg
Nereida Ripero-Muñiz

Chapter 3. Being Oromo in Nairobi’s ‘Little Mogadishu’: Superdiversity, Moral Community and the Open Economy
Neil Carrier and Hassan H. Kochore


Chapter 4. Demanding and Commanding Goods: The Eastleigh Transformation Told through the ‘Lives’ of Its Commodities
Neil Carrier and Hannah Elliott

Chapter 5. Capital Mobilization among the Somali Refugee Business Community in Eastleigh, Nairobi
John Mwangi Githigaro and Kenneth Omeje

Chapter 6. Challenging the Status Quo from the Bottom Up? Gender and Enterprise in Somali Migrant Communities in Nairobi, Kenya
Holly A. Ritchie

Chapter 7. Reinventing Retail: ‘Somali’ Shopping Centres in Kenya
Tabea Scharrer


Chapter 8. Perpetually in Transit: Somalian Refugees in a Context of Increasing Hostility
Lucy Lowe and Mark Yarnell

Chapter 9. Framing the Swoop: A Comparative Analysis of Operation Usalama Watch in Muslim and Secular Print Media in Kenya
Joseph Wandera and Halkano Abdi Wario

Chapter 10. Beyond Eastleigh: A New Little Mogadishu in Uganda?
Gianluca Iazzolino

Günther Schlee


Back to Top