Area of expertise
Sustainability Science, Development Studies, Economic History, Methodology. Climate change, Food politics, Gender equality, Land use changes, Poverty and Inequality.
Development, globalisation and sustainability are my primary research interests. I see development and sustainability as two interdisciplinary fields striving to fulfil social goals. Both of them are value driven, policy oriented and participatory but vary in spatial and temporal scales. Here sustainability science (SS) differs from development in three distinct ways: it starts from a global perspective that does not necessarily dichotomise the global North from the global South; it takes an integrative approach attempting to bridge knowledge from the natural sciences with that from the social sciences; and it is explicitly concerned with both contemporary and future generations.
In sustainability science, I am interested in knowledge structuring, methodology (mainly qualitative approaches) and livelihood conditions. In particular, I am interested in how social theory like institutionalism, symbolic interactionism, and various critical theories including feminism, can be useful in development studies and sustainability science. I am also interested in how we can use qualitative methodology, such as grounded theory and situated analysis, to design and pursue research in sustainability science on livelihood changes in the context of gender regimes and climate change in the global South.
Theoretically, I seek to combine critical with problem solving research. Methodologically, I seek ways to combine natural and social dimensions of sustainability.
I am a lead faculty in the Earth System Governance project and an editorial board member of the new journal Earth System Governance.
Current research projects
What's love got to do with it? SDGs, gendered power, and place attachment
MAGYC: Migration Governance and Asylum Crises
Interdisciplinarity in graduate and postgraduate teaching
Previous research and supervision
In 2008-2018, I was a principal investigator and PhD supervisor in the Linnaeus Centre LUCID (Lund University Centre of Excellence for the Integration of Social and Natural Dimensions of Sustainability). In collaboration with LUCID colleagues, I have contributed to theoretical and methodological debates on knowledge structuring in sustainability science, pluralism in integrating social and natural dimensions of sustainability, research at the nexus of critical and problem solving research as well as debates on agroforestry adoption, climate change adaptation, climate narratives, gender inequality, poverty, and resilience.
In my early career, I studied post-war development in East- and Southeast Asia, especially modern socio-economic transformation in Vietnam and its national development strategies for changing the role of the state in the transition from plan to marketaround 1990. With a focus on income and career opportunities among people who are poor, I also studied gender inequalities in urban labour markets, formal and informal, as well as rural income opportunities in agriculture and aquaculture. I then reoriented my research towards natural resource use and rural livelihoods to study climate change mitigation and adaptation among ‘the poorest of the poor’ in subsistence livelihoods in coastal Vietnam and agroforestry based subsistence farming in Western Kenya.
From 1996 to 2016, I supervised ten PhD projectsto completion in Economic History, Geography, Human Ecology, and Environmental Systems. Since 2008, I have supervised ten PhD projects to completion in Sustainability Science. Since 2011, I am also a post-doc advisor.
I coordinate and teach profile courses in three graduate programmes at the nexus of development, globalisation, and sustainability.
In the Development Master, I teach SIMP 35 Theories and Issues in Development(15 credits) and SIMP 36 Historical aspects of Development (15 credits).
In LUMID (Lund University Master of Science in International Development and Management), I teach MIDM 38 Field Methods (7.5 credits) and examine the graduate thesis (30 credits).
In LUMES (master programme in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science), I co-coordinate the thesis course MESM 02 (30 credits) and serve as the main examiner.
I started as a lecturer in economic history and later became a professor in sustainability science with a main interest in social, structural, and institutional change in relation to poverty, inequality, gender, development and sustainability. Drawing on comparative economic history, my early focus was on long-term structural and institutional change associated with state-market dynamics, resource distribution, rural-urban labour linkages, and livelihood strategies. From that perspective, I offered courses on European industrialisation; post-war transformation in East- and Southeast Asia and Latin America; and the post-cold-war transition from plan to market in China and Vietnam. Besides these substance courses, I teach methodology courses on qualitative inquiry, research strategies, field methods, and data analysis.
I have designed interdisciplinary courses and programmes at LU on undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate levels. Some ideas are synthesised in a co-authored textbook Politics and Development in times of Globalisation (Jönsson et al 2012), in a co-authored chapter on the LUCID research school (Ness & Jerneck) and in my teaching portfolio (2015) based on which I received an Excellent Teacher Awardat the Social Science Faculty (2016).