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Flora Hajdu

Flora Hajdu
Associate Professor in Rural Development


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 »List of projects and outcomes

Currently I am dividing my time between research on several different projects, supervision of PhD and MSc students, occasional lecturing and being Acting Chair for our research subject (Rural Development in the global South) and Vice Head of Department. 

My research interests include various aspects of rural livelihoods and the policies affecting them in Southern and Eastern Africa as well as in rural Sweden. I have tried to understand local perspectives of policies and development interventions that affect people’s livelihoods, such as agricultural development projects and poverty relief programmes. I have also studied opportunities for local jobs and informal income-generating activities in rural areas. The effects of AIDS on young people’s future livelihood opportunities have been in focus in a previous project. I am also interested in discourses, myths and narratives about rural dwellers, their livelihoods and their effects on the environment. I have  analysed discourses concerning climate compensation through forest plantation in Uganda and large-scale land acquisitions in Tanzania. Since 2015 I have two research projects focusing on the material, social and relational effects of cash transfers in rural South Africa, Malawi and Lesotho. The most recent research project focuses on livelihoods and diversification in Swedish farming. Theories used are often drawn from geography, livelihoods analyses and the critical discourse and governmentality literature. Countries where I am doing research: South Africa, Malawi, Lesotho, Uganda, Tanzania and Sweden. 


List of current projects. For all research projects and publications resulting from these, see pdf-file "list of publications by project".

Can cash transfers have long-term effects on rural livelihoods in poor countries: Learning lessons from the effects of the child grant in South Africa.
I am project leader for this project, funded by Formas (2015-18). The project aims to investigate long-term effects of cash transfers on rural livelihoods, through following up household livelihoods and the effects of pensions and child grants in two villages surveyed in 2002 in rural South Africa. The project aims to give input into a discussion on the potential of “basic income grants”. The project includes PhD student Stefan Granlund.

Social cash transfers, generational relations and youth poverty trajectories in rural Lesotho and Malawi

I am a researcher in this project, funded by ESCR/DFID in the U.K. (2015-18). The project looks at how cash transfers in Malawi and Lesotho have impacted over time on young people’s livelihoods and their relations with older generations. The project follows up on interviews with young people aged 10-24 made in 2007-08 in Malawi and Lesotho. Five other researchers at three universities in the UK and at University of Malawi and National University of Lesotho are part of the project.

Link to project report »

Link to external project homepage with policy briefs »

Conservation, carbon, communities: Swedish carbon purchases through forest plantations in Uganda.
I was project leader for this project, funded by the Swedish Research Council (VR) (2013-16). The project studied discourse, policy and practice in connection to Swedish carbon emission reduction purchases through CDM forest plantations in Uganda, which simultaneously aim to benefit local communities. The project included researcher Klara Fischer. One final publication is still in review and we aim to apply for a new project on a similar topic 2019.

Link to project report »

Large-scale agro investments in Tanzania: Impacts on smallholder land access and food security
I was project leader for this project, funded by Formas and Sida (2012-15). The project studied the discourses surrounding large-scale agro investments in Tanzania  and the impacts of discourses and activities on local livelihoods. The project included PhD student Linda Engström who defended her thesis 21st Sept 2018. Available here: Link to epsilon database 
One paper remains to be published from the project and Linda aims to apply for future research grants on to develop this topic.

The prospects for Swedish farming: Agrarian change and household strategies.
I am project leader for this project, funded by Formas (2016-19). The project focuses on studying  agrarian change in Sweden and how households have dealt with changes in various ways. This is done through following up a study with 260 agrarian households made 1992. Through interviews with a selection of households, we focus on understanding strategies the farmers have used to handle changing social and environmental conditions for farming and their ideas about the future. The project includes the researchers Erik Westholm, Cecilia Waldenström and Camilla Eriksson.


Partners I currently actively cooperate with:

David Neves, University of the Western Cape, South Africa

Ass.Prof. Tessa Hochfeld, University of Johannesburg, South Africa

Dr. Evance Mwathunga, University of Malawi, Malawi

Thandie Hlabana, National University of Lesotho, Lesotho

Prof. Nicola Ansell, Brunel University, UK

Prof. Lorraine van Blerk, Dundee University, UK

Dr. Elsbeth Robson, University of Hull


-Associate Professor in Rural Development, SLU, 2014
-PhD from the Department of Water and Environmental Studies, Linköping University, 2006
-MSc from Uppsala University, major Human Geography, minors Antrhopology and Earth Sciences, 2000


Supervision of PhD students 

Klara Fischer (Jacobson), defended her PhD in 2013

Linda Engström, Main supervisor, defended her PhD in 2018

Jovita Amurwon (Main supervisor, due to defend 2019)

Stefan Granlund (Main supervisor, due to defend 2019)

I also supervise MSc students.

Selected publications

Selected publications (for full list see pdf)

Fischer, K., Giertta, F. and F. Hajdu (2019) Carbon-binding biomass or a diversity of useful trees? (Counter)topographies of carbon forestry in Uganda. Environment and Planning E. doi: 10.1177/2514848618823598

Engström L, Hajdu F 2018 Conjuring ‘Win-World’ – Resilient Development Narratives in a Large-Scale Agro-Investment in Tanzania. Journal of Development Studies. Published online 1 March 2018. DOI: 10.1080/00220388.2018.1438599

Fischer K, Hajdu F 2017 The importance of the will to improve: how ‘sustainability’ sidelined local livelihoods in a carbon-forestry investment in Uganda. Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning. Published online: 04 Dec 2017

Amurwon J, Hajdu F, Bukenya Yiga D, and Seeley J 2017 “Helping my neighbour is like giving a loan…” –the role of social relations in chronic illness in rural Uganda. BMC Health Services Research 17:705 Available Open Access: DOI 10.1186/s12913-017-2666-5

Ansell, N, Hajdu, F, van Blerk, L and Robson, E 2017 ‘My happiest time’ or ‘my saddest time’? The spatial and generational construction of marriage among youth in rural Malawi and Lesotho. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers. Published online: 19 Oct 2017.  Available Open Access. DOI:10.1111/tran.12211

Ansell N, Hajdu F, Van Blerk L and Robson E 2017 Fears for the future: The incommensurability of securitisation and in/securities among southern African youth. Social & Cultural Geography  Pages 1-27, Published online: 14 Jul 2017. Available Open Access: DOI:10.1080/14649365.2017.1344871

Hajdu F, Fischer K, Penje O 2016 Questioning the use of ‘degradation’ in climate mitigation: A case study of a forest carbon CDM project in Uganda. Land Use Policy. 59 (31) 412–422. Available Open Access. DOI: 10.1016/j.landusepol.2016.09.016

Fischer K, Hajdu F, Cavallin Giertta F 2016 Commentary on the paper by Lyons and Westoby “Carbon colonialism and the new land grab: Plantation forestry in Uganda and its livelihood impacts”, Journal of Rural Studies. (47) 267-268.

Ansell N, Hajdu F, van Blerk L, Robson E, 2016 AIDS-affected young people's access to livelihood assets: exploring 'new variant famine' in rural southern Africa. Journal of Rural Studies (46) 23–34. Available Open Access.DOI:10.1016/j.jrurstud.2016.05.008

Hajdu F, Fischer K 2016 Problems, causes and solutions in the forest carbon discourse: A framework for analysing degradation narratives. Climate and Development. DOI:10.1080/17565529.2016.1174663   

Amurwon J, Hajdu F, Seeley J 2015 The relevance of timing of illness and death events in the household life cycle for coping outcomes in rural Uganda in the era of HIV. International Journal for Equity in Health 14:105 Available Open Access. DOI: 10.1186/s12939-015-0253-0.  

Fischer K, Hajdu F 2015 Does raising maize yields lead to poverty reduction?  A study of the ‘Massive Food Production Programme’ in South Africa. Land Use Policy 46, 304-13. DOI:10.1016/j.landusepol.2015.03.015

Ansell N, Tsoeu S, Hajdu F 2015 Women’s changing domestic responsibilities in neoliberal Africa: a relational time-space analysis of Lesotho’s garment industry. Gender, Place and Culture  22 (3) 363-382 DOI: 10.1080/0966369X.2013.855712

Ansell N, Robson E, Hajdu F and van Blerk L 2014 Learning from young people about their lives: using participatory methods to research the impacts of AIDS in southern Africa. In Porter G, Townsend J and Hampshire K Children and Young People as Knowledge Producers. London: Routledge. 

Ansell N, Hajdu F, Robson E and van Blerk L 2014 Reconceptualizing temporality in young lives: Exploring young people’s current and future livelihoods in AIDS-affected southern Africa. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 39 (3) 333–475 DOI: 10.1111/tran.12041

Hajdu F, Ansell N, Robson E, van Blerk L 2013 Rural young people’s opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship in globalised southern Africa: The limitations of targeting policies. International Development Planning Review. 35 (2) 155-174.

Ansell N, Robson E, Hajdu F, van Blerk, L 2012 Learning from young people about their lives: using participatory methods to research the impacts of AIDS in southern Africa. Children’s Geographies. 10 (2) 169-186.

Hajdu F, Jacobson K, Salomonsson L, Friman E 2012 “But tractors can’t fly”: A transdisciplinary analysis of neoliberal agricultural development interventions in South Africa. International Journal of Transdisciplinary Research 6 (1) 24-51. 
Available Open Access:

Ansell, N, van Blerk, L Hajdu F, Robson, E 2011 Spaces, times and critical moments: A relational time-space analysis of the impacts of AIDS on rural youth in Malawi and Lesotho Environment & Planning A 43 (3) 525-544

Hajdu F, Ansell N, Robson E and van Blerk L 2011 Income generating activities for young people in Southern Africa: Exploring AIDS and other constraints. Geographical  Journal. 177 (3) 251–26

Ansell N, Robson E, Hajdu F, van Blerk L and Chipeta L 2009 The ‘new variant famine’ hypothesis: moving beyond the household in explaining links between AIDS and food insecurity in southern Africa. Progress in Development Studies 9 (3) 187-208.

» List of publications cording to project

» List of publications according to type


External webpage for project on cash transfers and generational relations:

Profile at ResearchGate where most of the papers can be downloaded

Research gate page

Researcher at the Department of Urban and Rural Development; Division of Rural Development
Telephone: +4618672162
Work description: Research within various externally funded research projects. Teaching and supervision of PhD students and master’s students at the division.
Postal address:
Inst för stad och land, Box 7012
Visiting address: Ulls väg 27, Uppsala