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Karin Steen

Lecturer, Researcher

Research Areas

My main research interests are gender, development and sustainabilty. My geographical focus is sub-Saharan Africa and especially Zimbabwe. I am also interested in feminist theory in sustainability studies.

Current Research

My current research explores the importance of love, as an emotion, for understanding vulnerability, sustainability and development. Love is a perfect place to study power. I investigate how love and power in intimate contracts influence gendered resource management in agricultural production. I aim at identifying strategies that contribute to strengthen women's rights to resources, especially land and labour. My PhD thesis focused on Zimbabwe and I have continued with this regional focus.

My research, current and previous, aims at understanding the dynamics of gender and social change. In my research I use qualitative methods, such as different kinds of interviews and observations, and draw on gender and institutional theories, which recognise power and discursive signs of institutional change.

In previous research I have focused on gender aspects of processes of social and institutional change, mainly in relation to issues of land and labour. I study the social aspects of land where I focus on the importance of land in how gender is enacted in everyday strategies and constructed in terms of identities. My previous research was guided by the research question: to what extent is the gendered organisation and management of labour and land in subsistence farming a constraining or enabling factor for achieving food security? PhD Thesis: Time to farm

Further, I am interested in qualitative methodology and ways to grasp social change. In this aspect I am interested in how social constructivism and grounded theory can be used to study institutional change.

Read more about my latest research project in Formas' online magazine Extract (in Swedish):


My teaching is mainly in the fields of gender, development and sustainabilty. Most of my teaching is at multi-disciplinary international profile Masters in Development, Master in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science, and Bachelour in Development. I am a tutor for students at bachelor level and master level. I am the DIrecror of studies for LUMES at LUCSUS and the Director for the Master of Science in Development at Graduate School at the social sceince faculty at Lund University.


Retrieved from Lund University's publications database



Retrieved from Lund University's publications database


Retrieved from Lund University's publications database

Page Manager:
Karin Steen
E-mail: karin [dot] steen [at] LUCSUS [dot] lu [dot] se


LUCSUS (Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies)

+46 46 222 80 83

Josephson, 221

Josephson, Biskopsgatan 5, Lund


Visiting lecturer

Department of Human Geography


Senior lecturer

Division for Higher Education Development


Health and safety representative

LUCSUS (Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies)



Karin Steen is a researcher at Lund University Centre for Sustainability Science (LUCSUS). She has a Bachelor in Economic History from Lund University and a PhD in Sustainability Science from Lund University. Her research background covers for example gendered aspects of small scale farming in Zimbabwe, including analysis of piecemeal institutional change, land and labour rights, and life stories.


P.O. Box 170, SE-221 00 Lund, Sweden
Phone: +46(0)46- 222 80 81
info [at] lucsus [dot] lu [dot] se