Director of Studies, Researcher
My main research interest is that of naturalised stories, or myths, and their role in the creation and legitimisation of environmental politics and policy. Myth, in this sense, is not equated to a misconception or false story, but is a taken-for-granted belief that guides and justifies everyday action. As such, myth is at the very heart ofsocietal action and acceptance, creating deep-seated notions of what is ‘natural’ or ‘obvious’.
My current project ‘Alternative facts: a long-term analysis of the impact of myth on American environmental policy’ explores how myths are used to create direction and legitimacy for the Trump administration’s environmental policy. Breaking from the traditional post-phenomenon analysis, i.e. analysing myth in hindsight, this project aims to analyse the use of myth as it unfolds.The project comprises collaborators in Canada and the US and will be conducted partly at Carleton University on Ottawa, Canada.
Previous research projects span a wide range of issues, including the (non)transition to sustainable urban mobility and the concept and practice of urban laboratories, i.e. small scale experimentation of new forms of urban governance aimed at creating sustainable and inclusive cities.
As a result of a rather wide research interest, I have become involved in a variety of courses on both bachelor and master levels. My teaching has been focused on issues of sustainability from an urban perspective, including
- Myth in environmental policy & practice
- Transition to sustainable urban mobility
- Perspectives and practices of power
- History of environmental thinking
- Global resources
As part of an ambition to communicate my research to academic and non-academic actors alike, I have engaged in several outreach activities, including workshops and public lectures as well as minor projects with the Lund Museum of Sketches and Dunkers Kulturhus in Helsingborg (upcoming). In the autumn of 2019 I will be part of the Lund University Science Tour.
Displaying of publications. Sorted by year, then title.
Nog nu, politiker – ta klimatkrisen på allvarKarin Gerhardt, Kimberly Nicholas, Wim Carton, Anika Binte Habib, Diego Galafassi, et al.
(2022) Aftonbladet Debatt, -
Storying COVID-19 : fear, digitalisation, and the transformational potential of storytellingMaja Essebo
(2022) Sustainability Science , p.555-564
A mythical place : A conversation on the earthly aspects of mythMaja Essebo
(2019) Progress in Human Geography, 43 p.515-530
Lock-in as make-believe : Exploring the role of myth in the lock-in of high mobility systemsMaja Essebo
Contradictions of Sustainable Mobility - The Illogic of Growth and the Logic of MythMaja Essebo, Guy Baeten
(2012) Tijdschrift Voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, 103 p.555-565
Maja Essebo is a researcher at Lund University Centre for Sustainability Science (LUCSUS). She has a master in political science from Lund University and a PhD in human geography from Gothenburg University. Her research background covers a wide range of issues, including transition to sustainable mobility, urban laboratories, and, first and foremost, all things related to the (political) use of myth. Her current project focuses on the role of myth in American environmental politics.