Claire Mercer is a human geographer working at the intersection of human geography and African studies. Her early work developed a critique of the NGO-ization of development, and postcolonial approaches to civil society and diaspora. She is currently working on new research on peripheral urbanization in African cities. She has conducted research in Tanzania, Cameroon and the UK.
Claire’s current research explores the significance of property to middle class reproduction in suburban Dar es Salaam. It examines how self-build housing on the urban periphery has become central to what it means to be middle class in contemporary Tanzania. In these new neighbourhoods, the acquisition of land and the construction of houses and suburban landscapes have become vehicles for the accumulation of material and aesthetic assets, creating new spaces of inequality at the urban periphery.
Claire is about to embark on a three-year ESRC-funded project examining how self-build housing generates the urban economy and neighbourhood change in Ghana and Tanzania.
She is the author (with Ben Page, UCL; and Martin Evans, University of Chester) of Development and the African diaspora: place and the politics of home, published by Zed Books.
Claire is a member of the Editorial Board of International Journal of Urban and Regional Development, the International Advisory Board of Antipode, the Advisory Board of Critical African Studies, and an Editorial Board Member of the Development Geography Section for Geography COMPASS.