Karin Steen

Lecturer, PhD, Director of Studies

Research areas and keywords

UKÄ subject classification

  • Social Sciences
  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
  • Gender Studies



I am a PhD in Sustainability science at LUCSUS. In both my research and teaching I focus on development, gender, sustainability, social change, and also qualitative methodology to study these issues.

My main research interest is in gender aspects of processes of social and institutional change, mostly in relation to issues of land and labour. Past research has focused on the social aspects of land where I study the importance of land in how gender is enacted in everyday strategies and constructed in terms of identities and how that in turn affects men’s and women’s room of maneuver in food production. 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. In this project I combine feminist and development theories. I aim at identifying strategies that contribute to strengthen women's rights to resources, especially land and labour.  

Further, I am interested in qualitative methodology and ways to grasp social change in norms and behaviour. I use qualitative methods, such as oral history and constructivist grounded theory, to locate power and discursive signs of institutional change aiming at understanding the dynamics of gender, resources and social change. 

My regional focus is on Sub-Saharan Africa. My PhD thesis focused on Zimbabwe and I have continued with this regional focus. I am excited to now dwell into a new research project where I combine feminist theories with development theories, and investigate how love – in terms of intimacy, commitment and passion – may affect land rights in subsistence farming societies and in turn food security.


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




Recent research outputs

Karin Steen, 2019 Apr 2, Extrakt.

Research output: Contribution to specialist publication or newspaperNewspaper article

Yahia Mahmoud, Anne Jerneck, Kronsell, A. & Karin Steen, 2018, In : Ecology and Society. 23, 4, 40.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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