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Diasporic futures: exploring evolutions of identity among Somali-Canadians

Liin Abdullahi Nur (Toronto and this research was conducted at OCAD University, Toronto, Canada)


ISSN: 1463-6689

Article publication date: 11 May 2022




Among the Somalis living in the diaspora, there is a growing number that are returning or are interested in returning to Somalia for personal, economic and political reasons. The purpose of this paper is to examine the potential impact the diaspora has on the future of Somalia by understanding the anticipatory assumptions held by young Somali-Canadians. This research will also examine the role that Soomaalinimo [1] (Somali identity) plays in the transnational ties that diasporic individuals keep with their country and its people.


Using an indigenist research approach, this paper explores the evolution of Soomaalinimo over time in a way that is culturally informed and decolonial. Young Somali-Canadians in two cities (Toronto and Edmonton) were given an opportunity to define Soomaalinimo for themselves and create scenarios of how it might evolve in the future for their great-grandchildren. An analysis of these scenarios reveals anticipatory assumptions that shape how they think about the future.


Three distinct futures scenarios emerged, and this research revealed three key anticipatory assumptions held by the participants: Somalia will always be home; returning to Somalia is important to maintain Soomaalinimo; and it is the responsibility of the previous generations to transmit Soomaalinimo to future generations. These anticipatory assumptions are examined and an analysis of the implications on decolonizing futures is presented.


This study expands the conceptualization of the future of a country to include the diaspora and uses the concept of anticipatory assumptions to reveal some of the potential implications of this group.



The author(s) received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article. The author wishes to thank Dr. Elizabeth (Dori) Tunstall for her guidance, advice, and encouragement in conducing this research study. Thanks are also due to the participants in this study, the young Somali-Canadians that joined the workshops, for their time and insight.


Nur, L.A. (2022), "Diasporic futures: exploring evolutions of identity among Somali-Canadians", Foresight, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.



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