Labour of love: secrecy and kinship among Ghanaian-Dutch and Somali-Dutch in The Netherlands

TitleLabour of love: secrecy and kinship among Ghanaian-Dutch and Somali-Dutch in The Netherlands
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsA. Bakuri, R. Spronk, and R.A. van Dijk
Secondary TitleEthnography
Volume21
Issue3
Pagination394-412
Date Published2020
Publication Languageeng
Keywordsdiasporas, Ghana, kinship, Netherlands, secrecy, sexuality
Abstract

This paper examines the productive role of secrecy in the nexus of transnational mobility, kinship, and intimate relations among Ghanaian-Dutch and Somali-Dutch in the Netherlands. Whereas secrecy is typically understood as one person concealing knowledge from another, implying the latter’s passivity, we argue that secrecy depends on mutually constitutive interactions. Secrecy is explored as the result of an interaction between those who obscure knowledge in creative ways and those who maintain a not-knowing. The paper analyzes how people negotiate moral expectations regarding sexuality, respect, and loyalty, while also manoeuvring to fulfil their personal aspirations. Especially in kinship relations, when people are bound to each other by moral and social obligations, the management of secrecy often makes people mutually dependent. Secrecy is revealed as skillfully choreographing relations by the ebb and flow of information where kinship, respect, or love and (not-) knowing reinforce another.

DOI10.1177/1466138120938808
Citation Key11275