Dr Mette Louise Berg

Teaching and Research Interests

Mette Louise Berg was a lecturer in anthropology of migration at COMPAS and ISCA until September 2015 before moving to University College London. She has a Masters degree from Copenhagen and a DPhil from St Antony's College, Oxford.

Her research interests include migration, diasporas and transnationalism; urban diversity; questions of gender, belonging and generation; social memory; Cuba and its diaspora.

She is the author of Diasporic Generations: Memory, Politics and Nation among Cubans in Spain (2011). Her more recent work focuses on the nexus between social and geographic mobility among graduates of one of socialist Cuba's elite schools. 

Mette teaches mainly on the MSc Migration Studies. She was awarded the University of Oxford Social Sciences Teaching Excellence Award 2013.

In the autumn of 2014, she will be on an ESRC Knowledge Exchange Fellowship, working with the London Borough of Southwark and Latin American Women's Rights Service.

Mette is a member of the Flows and Dynamics cluster and the Urban Change and Settlement cluster at COMPAS.

Mette is a native Danish speaker, and also speaks Spanish and German.

Current research

La Lenin Transnational: Schooling and the Reproduction of Elites in Socialist Cuba 

Formal education and schooling were central tenets in the quest for modernity and nationhood across post-colonial societies in the twentieth century. Schools were harnessed to inculculate the skills needed to produce modern, national subjects. Yet education and schooling also foster aspirations for geographic mobility beyond national borders, further fuelled by globalization and new communication technologies. In this strand of research, I explore the role of one particular school (the VI Lenin Secondary School, known as ‘La Lenin’) in linking social mobility, in the form of an academically-elite education, with geographic mobility in the form of internal and international migration, in the context of socialist Cuba and its diaspora. An article based on the research has been published in Identities.

Field research was funded by the John Fell Fund (April 2011-June 2013).

Welfare, neighbourhood and new geographies of diversity 

This pilot examines everyday experiences of diversity. Specifically, it focuses on interfaces between the everyday lives of residents across the life course and local welfare state providers in the inner-city area of Elephant and Castle in London. It is a collaborative, interdisciplinary project, drawing on ethnographic, quantitative, and visual methods.

A central tenet in anti-diversity discourses has been that an excess of ‘difference’ is bad for a sense of community. In this context, ‘difference’ is often taken to mean ethnic difference, while class and economic inequality is not addressed. This project by contrast explores differences and affinities that cut across ethnic groups, and how ‘ethnicity’ intersects with age and generation, socio-economic status, class, gender, faith, and citizenship / legal status. The project explores when and where affinities emerge, whether in the form of fleeting gestures or in longer-lived alliances e.g. to improve local schools, and when and where ‘difference’ is seen to be problematic or incommensurable, and by whom.

During the pilot phase, the research team will work closely with local welfare providers to build relationships and ensure access. The anticipated follow-on project will focus on capturing the new urban realities of super-diverse neighbourhoods, and offering new methodological and conceptual ideas for social science research.

Researchers: Mette Louise Berg (PI), Ben Gidley, Caroline Oliver, Hiranthi Jayaweera, Rachel Humphris, Simon Rowe (photographer).

Pilot study funded by the John Fell OUP Research Fund, May 2013-December 2014.

DPhil Students

Amanda Formisano (co-supervised with Prof. Michael Keith) (webpage)
The construction of Mediterranean modernism: an ethnography of a design hotel in Naples, Italy

John McManus (webpage)
Sport, the internet and group identity in the Turkish diaspora

Seamus Montgomery (co-supervised with Dr Robert Parkin)
Primitives & the supranational: investigating cosmopolitan subjectivities and federalist visions among civil servants in the European Commission

Completed DPhil Students

Marisa Macari (co-supervised with Prof. Stanley Ulijaszek) (webpage)
Contextualizing Migrant Weight Trajectories : A Case Study of the Mexican-born in West Queens, New York City

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Publications

For a list of publications, please click here.

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