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Keywords:

  • Hausa;
  • Niger;
  • Igbo;
  • Nigeria;
  • migrants;
  • brain drain;
  • immigrants

This short essay, which is a preface to two full length articles by Reynolds and by Youngstedt, also in this volume, highlights important contrasts between two African migratory orders in cities in the United States, especially by examining economic conditions under which the two communities use global information technologies as tools of community cohesion and formation in diaspora. The central contrast is that Nigerien Hausa experiences rest at the margins of the formal economy or at their engagement within informal economies, while Nigerian Igbo peoples' experiences as brain drain professionals means that they are by nature of their migratory order integrated into the hegemonic core of global capital. Ultimately, our ethnographically-based evidence poses two queries: how does space-time compression operate differentially in the creation of new “global” communities, and secondly, how are significant groups of global actors emerging as the various strands of globalizing economies take new root within and across old ethnic and national and religious imaginaries of community?