Beryl Nicholson

Beryl Nicholson

independent scholar

I am a sociologist and conduct research for publication in academic journals and books. Currently I am working on research projects on Albania and Poland.

On graduation, the award of a Norwegian Government Scholarship to spend a year at the University of Oslo enabled me to start doing research. During four subsequent years in Norway I taught for a year (in Norwegian) in a rural primary school in North Norway prior to doing fieldwork there. Then I had invaluable hands-on experience of research, working in a lowly capacity for the late Stein Rokkan at the Christian Michelsen Institute and the University of Bergen. This was followed by academic research posts at the Institute of Education, University of London, the University of Birmingham and Trinity College Dublin.

My research in Norway took as its starting point movements of population in rural areas of the north and the changes that were taking place in the 1960s in both the settlement pattern and the local economy. There are references to some of the resulting publications and conference papers elsewhere on this site.

Since the mid-1990s, my attention has turned to Albania, to both recent developments and to the period from independence in 1912 to 1939. I have done extensive ethnographic research in several rural areas in the south of the country, studying how people, especially women, were restructuring their lives in the period after the downfall of communism. Some of this work is published and there is more to come.

While doing background research on the pre-communist era I had the good fortune to discover the manuscript schedules of a census undertaken during the Austro-Hungarian occupation during World War I which had lain undiscovered in an archive in Vienna since the early 1920s. Using an ethnographic approach to this source I am undertaking studies of life in one of my field areas as it was in 1918. A further on-going project, on the resettlement in another part of my field area of refugees from Kosova in the inter-war period, draws on documents in the Albanian state archives and other archival sources, including a rich private collection of letters and diaries to which I have been granted access. This source also provided the rare material that I am currently exploring on post-World War I Poland.

My work has been published in leading academic journals and in edited collections in several languages and across a range of disciplines, including sociology, demography, and social history. The first article to be published was immediately put on student reading lists, as several others have been since. I have also presented many papers at international conferences and seminars at universities in the U.K. and abroad, and made seminar presentations by invitation at universities in Norway (in Norwegian) and France (in French) and in Britain. On the following pages there is a selected list of publications and papers, as well as some non-academic publications and a translation, all of which can be downloaded.

Besides the scholarship already mentioned, my research has been funded by several grants from the British Academy, and grants from the Elisabeth Barker Fund, the Leverhulme Trust, the Ford Trust, the Kellogg Foundation, the Fund for a North Norwegian University, and the Norwegian Research Council. For all of these I am deeply grateful.

Selected publications and papers

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Last update: 3rd July 2017