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.
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 have been the Director of studies for LUMES at LUCSUS and the Director for the Master of Science in Development at Graduate School at the social science faculty at Lund University.
Division for Higher Education Development
I also work with pedagogical development at the Lund University Division for Higher Education Development. I teach in courses for Lund university teachers, engage in feminist and empowering pedagogies as well as education for sustainability, and participate in the research environment ATLAS on discourses on academic teachers and higher education.
Displaying of publications. Sorted by year, then title.
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.