Désirée holds a PhD in Anthropology from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Her PhD dissertation compares aspirations and life choices of young adults in Beijing and Taipei against the different socio-economic and political backgrounds of China and Taiwan. In particular, her research analyses how different childhood experiences made in the distinct economic and politico-ideological environments of China and Taiwan have shaped young people’s attitudes towards family obligations and individual fulfilment. Previously, she graduated with a MSc in Anthropology (China in Comparative Perspective) from the LSE. In her master thesis she compared women's performance of filial piety (xiao) in urban China and Taiwan
In her current postdoctoral research project, Désirée explores how the transformation of culturally specific notions of fate and luck affect strategies to cope with loss and regret in urban Taiwanese society. Specifically, she looks at how a stronger emphasis on personal agency and decision-making autonomy among younger people challenges traditional concepts of fate commonly held by older generations. By applying a combination of methods borrowed from social anthropology and psychology, Désirée thus analyses intergenerational differences in strategies to overcome adversity and their impact on family and peer relationships in urban Taiwan. The objective of the research is to gather data for a more comprehensive cross-cultural comparison of how cultural notions of fate and destination influence coping mechanisms during stressful life events. Désirée will be on research leave in Taipei until February 2018.