Professor Claire Mercer

Professor Claire Mercer

Professor of Human Geography

Department of Geography and Environment

020 7107 5352
Room No
STC 4.18, St Clement's Building, LSE
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English, Swahili
Key Expertise
class, suburbs, architecture, civil society, diaspora, Africa, Tanzania

About me

Claire joined the Department of Geography and Environment in 2009, having previously held lectureships in Human Geography at the universities of Swansea (1998-2001) and Leicester (2001-2008). She holds a PhD in Human Geography from the University of Liverpool.

Working at the interface of Human Geography, African Studies and Development Studies, Claire's early research developed a geographical critique of the concept of civil society that confronted assumptions about the spatiality and makeability of African civil society. Drawing on ideas from postcolonial studies this work recast the discussion of civil society in Africa in terms that emphasized the diverse social and political work done by civil society actors such as NGOs and hometown associations. This research developed into an ESRC-funded project on transnational hometown associations, which examined the relationship between the African diaspora and the African continent through a study of four transnational home associations from Cameroon and Tanzania (with Ben Page, UCL; and Martin Evans, University of Chester). The book based on the project, Development and the African diaspora: place and the politics of home is published by Zed Books.

Claire is currently working on new research on the middle classes, domestic architecture and suburban space in Dar es Salaam.

Claire is a member of the International Advisory Board of Antipode, a member of the Advisory Board of Critical African Studies, and an Editorial Board Member of the Development Geography Section for Geography COMPASS.

Full list of publications (pdf).

Expertise Details

Africa; NGOs; Tanzania; civil society; development ; diaspora ; middle class; migration

Countries and regions

Africa; Cameroon; Tanzania

Sectors and industries

Policy and Regulatory Bodies

Selected publications

  • Mercer, C 'Landscapes of extended ruralisation: postcolonial suburbs in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’, forthcoming in Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers
  • Mercer, C. (2014) 'Middle class construction: domestic architecture, aesthetics and anxieties in Tanzania', The Journal of Modern African Studies, 52 (2), pp. 227-250,
  • Mercer, C. and Green, M. (2013) ‘Making civil society work: contracting, cosmopolitanism and community development in Tanzania’, Geoforum, 45, pp. 106-115 
  • Green, M., Kothari, U., Mercer, C. and Mitlin, D. (2012) ‘Saving, spending and future-making: time, discipline and money in development’, Environment and Planning A, 44, 7, pp. 1641-1656
  • Green, M., Mercer, C. and Mesaki S. (2012) ‘Faith in forms: civil society evangelism and development in Tanzania’, Development In Practice, 22, 5-6, pp. 721-734 
  • Mercer, C. (2012) ‘The privatization of aid?’ Review of African Political Economy, 131, pp. 145-147
  • Page, B. and Mercer, C. (2012) ‘Why do people do stuff? Reconceptualizing remittance behaviour in diaspora-development research and policy’, Progress in Development Studies, 12, 1, pp. 1-18
  • Jennings, M. and Mercer, C (2011) 'Rehabilitating nationalisms: conviviality and national consciousness in postcolonial Tanzania', Politique Africaine, 121, pp. 87-106
  • Page, B. and Mercer, C (2010) 'Diasporas and Development', in K. Knott and S. McLoughlin (eds) Diasporas: concepts, intersections, identities, Zed, London, pp.102-106
  • Mercer, C. & Page, B. (2010) 'African home associations in Britain: between political belonging and moral conviviality', African Diaspora, 3, 1, pp. 111-131 
  • Page, B., Evans, M., & Mercer, C (2010) 'Revisiting the politics of belonging in Cameroon', Africa, 80, 3, pp. 345-370
  • Page, B., Mercer, C., & Evans M (2009) 'African transnationalisms and diaspora networks: an introduction' Global Networks 9, 2, pp. 137-140
  • Mercer C, Page, B and Evans M (2009) 'Unsettling connections: transnational networks, development and African home associations', Global Networks, 9, 2, pp. 141-161