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Mine Islar

Associate Senior Lecturer

Research Areas:

Energy Justice and Sustainability of Energy SystemsWater and Energy Governance, Social Movements and Collective Action, Degrowth, Migration


My research solely focuses on the question of politics of transformative change as well as the political agency of change. So far sustainability researchers have focused largely on policy: what it is and what it could/should be. There are several academic articles on the compatibility, design of energy, climate, food, water policies and instruments. However, much less attention is devoted to the political circumstances that make transformative change and the adoption of such policies likely. In order to fill this gap in the field, I explore collective movements for sustainability with the following research projects: Citizen municipalism in Barcelona and Renewable energy cooperativism in South Lalitpur, Nepal. My overall aim is to understand political opportunity structures that citizen collective action is developed in different contexts and document practices of ‘everyday politics’ such as direct democracy and participatory budgeting for mobilizing political capital as a response to their ‘everyday’ sustainability challenges. 

Throughout my studies, I also rework the concepts of political community and ecological citizenship which refers to a ‘new politics of obligation’, according to which human beings have obligations to animals, trees, mountains, oceans, and other members of the biotic community. At the center of my theoretical exploration is the firm belief that conventional conceptions of justice and citizenship do not provide the human species with an adequate set of tools for resolving the difficulties created by ecological challenges today. In line with this interest, I took part in the international effort to develop methodological framework for pluralistic valuation of nature in the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).

Research Projects

Rivers of Commons: A study on the sustainability of small hydro-projects in Nepal

Funded by FORMAS (2018-2021)

This project aims to make empirical and theoretical contributions to the study of commons by applying the CPR framework to human constructed facilities such as renewable energy systems. Common property theories are used in the past decade to understand community management of traditional village commons such as irrigation canals, forests and fisheries, and provide insightful perspectives to grasp collective-action challenges (Lansing 1991; Lam 1994; Joshi 1998). However, there are no studies that apply CPR framework to energy specifically community-run hydropower projects although they have characteristics of common pool resources similar to the studies of irrigation canals (see Graecen 2004). Accordingly, this study will show that the community power systems, such as irrigation channels, are CPRs since they are human-made, inherently community-scaled infrastructure. They  require a certain amount of maintenance needs to be organized collectively via both capital and labor contributions. In the case of Nepal, there are collective institutional structures such as hydropower cooperatives and village level functional groups that will be of relevance in this study of commons. 

Ecological citizen and politicization after the right to the city movements

Funded by VR (2015-2018) 

 It aims to analyze the impact of contemporary movements in Europe in creating collective citizen initiatives and inclusive societies. The project results are documented by three publications (one recently published, two are upcoming). Project findings aim to contribute to a deepened understanding of politicization, especially in the aftermath of significant social movements, such as occupy movements. I documented the differences between ‘everyday makers’ and ‘expert citizens’ in citizen initiatives and their significance in sustaining a transformative change through the case of citizen municipalism in Barcelona. Another finding of the project is the alliance building between citizen initiatives and different sectors. Here I show strategies and examples of co-production of municipal policies in the context of energy, climate and gender together with activists and key people in respective sectors

PhD Thesis

In my thesis “Private Rivers: Politics of Renewable Energy and the Rise of Water Struggles in Turkey”, I offer diverse conceptualizations of values and rights of water and land in the case of hydropower development in Anatolia. I emphasize the importance of understanding urban rural interdependencies and how urban needs such as energy depends highly on different uses of land and water systems in rural areas. This thesis has gained recognition as one of the first works focusing on the privatization of renewable hydropower and water rights controversies in Turkey, from several development institutions and policy circles such German Development Institute (DIE) and United Nations Development Programme.

See her thesis »

In my PhD project, As part of my research strategy, I have prioritized to publish in interdisciplinary arenas and used visual methodologies to communicate field-based research such as producing a short movie about controversies around water rights in Turkey. See the film Rivers and Strugglesbased on my PhD research project that explores the flowing politics of renewable energy in the villages of Turkey. What happens to rural life and to the rights of people and nature when parts of a river system are privatized? Who owns the water?



MESS 34 Governance for Sustainability (7,5 credits),Lund University Master Programme in Environmental Science and Sustainabillity (LUMES). 


MESS 12 Water and Sustainability (7,5 credits),Lund University Master Programme in Environmental Science and Sustainabillity (LUMES). 


MESS 56 Popular Culture (7,5 credits), Lund University Master Programme in Environmental Science and Sustainabillity (LUMES).


ACES 47 (Un)sustainable Asia (7,5 credits),Center for East and South-East Asian Studies. 


Retrieved from Lund University's publications database



Retrieved from Lund University's publications database


Retrieved from Lund University's publications database

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E-mail: mine [dot] islar [at] LUCSUS [dot] lu [dot] se

Associate senior lecturer

LUCSUS (Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies)

+46 46 222 41 31

Josephson, 222

Josephson, Biskopsgatan 5, Lund



She obtained her PhD degree in Sustainability Science from Lund University Center for Sustainability Studies (LUCSUS). She was part of a PhD School called LUCID programme (Lund University Centre of Excellence for Integration of Social and Natural Dimensions of Sustainability), funded by a Linnaeus Grant, which aims to conduct an interdisciplinary research on climate change, water scarcity, land use change, and biodiversity. Her expertise is on water rights, transboundary resource governance, energy justice as well as collective movements towards sustainability in both urban and rural settings. Apart from this, she also acts as a scientific expert in UN Intergovermental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem services (IPBES) as a Lead Author (2017-2020) for  policy tools and instruments for the Values Assessment and Global Assessment of Biodiversity where she leads a section on governance challenges of SDGs with a special focus on SDG7 goal on energy and its potential implications on biodiversity.

Research Groups



The Pufendorf Institute for Advanced Studies (IAS)’s  special initiative on migration aims to identify interdisciplinary approaches to migration research in Sweden. In this initiative, we would like to discuss migration in a broader sense - where migration is treated as a process which encompasses a variety of phenomena across different disciplines, departments and faculties. New conceptual, theoretical approaches as well as methodological innovations in migration research are at the focus of this initiative.



POLLEN is a global network, consisting of a large variety of political ecologists. As individuals or small groups, these political ecologists have formed so-called ‘nodes’ and interact through POLLEN. The aim of POLLEN is to facilitate interaction and creativity through ‘cross-fertilization’ and to promote the important field of political ecology world-wide, among academics as well as others.



The current energy transition calls for a rethinking of ethical dilemmas on how to allocate the benefits and costs of scarce energy resources, not only among the citizens of urban and rural; north and south; poor and rich but also between current and future generations. Past experiences have shown that realizing energy projects is seldom an uncontested process. From confrontations over oil extraction, concerns over the sustainability of biofuels, to resistance against hydropower, wind energy projects as well as nuclear power, energy questions seem inherently fraught with conflict and sustainability concerns. This ultimately raises the question of energy justice: how can we understand and foster justice and equality when considering past, present and future energy decision-making, production and access.​​​​​​​


Temat Degrowth undersöker hur samhällen skulle kunna vara organiserad om ekonomisk tillväxt inte längre var det huvudsakliga sociala och politiska målet. På senare år har degrowth etablerats som ett paraplybegrepp i kritik mot den centralstyrda ekonomiska tillväxten i våra samhällen och omfamnar flertalet alternativ för ekologisk hållbarhet och social rättvisa. En vanlig missuppfattning är att degrowth är likvärdigt med negativ ekonomisk tillväxt eller att det antyder en återgång till förmoderna förhållanden. Vi ser däremot degrowth som ett sätt att hitta nya sätt att förstå och uppleva ett gott liv.

P.O. Box 170, SE-222 70 Lund, Sweden
Phone: +46(0)46- 222 80 81
info [at] lucsus [dot] lu [dot] se