ClaireMercer237x346Claire Mercer

Associate Professor of Human Geography


Tel: [+44] (0)20 7107 5352

Fax: [+44] (0)20 7955 7412

Room: STC 4.12, St Clement’s Building, LSE

Links: LSE Experts page



Claire joined the Department of Geography and Environment in 2009, having previously held lectureships in Human Geography at the universities of Leicester and Swansea. She completed her PhD in Human Geography at the University of Liverpool.

Working at the interface of Human Geography, African Studies and Development Studies, Claire has developed a geographical critique of the concept of civil society that has confronted assumptions about the spatiality and the ‘makeability’ of African civil society. Drawing on ideas from postcolonial studies her research seeks to recast the discussion of civil society in Africa in terms that emphasize the diverse social and political work done by civil society actors such as NGOs and home associations.

Claire’s most recent research has been concerned with the relationship between the African diaspora and the African continent. This research places Africa at the centre of questions about diaspora. She recently completed a four-year ESRC-funded research project, graded ‘outstanding’, which examined the development work undertaken in Africa by diaspora communities in Britain. This involved 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 a new research project on migrant house-building in Tanzania, investigating the relationship between architecture, material culture and social remittances.

Claire is an Editor of the Review of African Political Economy. She is also a member of the Advisory Board for Critical African Studies, and an Editorial Board Member of the Development Geography Section for Geography COMPASS.

Research Areas

  • Diaspora and migration
  • Domestic architecture and material culture in Africa
  • African middle classes
  • The politics of development and civil society in Africa, and Tanzania in particular



Recent publications:


  • Mercer, C. (2014) ‘Middle class construction: domestic architecture, aesthetics and anxieties in Tanzania’, The Journal of Modern African Studies, 52 (2), pp. 227-250,




  • Jennings, M. and Mercer, C (2011) ‘Rehabilitating nationalisms: conviviality and national consciousness in postcolonial Tanzania’, Politique Africaine, 121, pp. 87-106 (pdf)




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