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Alexandre Dubois

I have a keen interest in investigating rural entrepreneurship and I want to better understand the changing role of rural businesses, both in the agricultural and non-agricultural (such as manufacturing and services) sectors, in community development. Conceptually, I have worked essentially with the notion of proximity. My empirical work, takes place in north Sweden (e.g. Västerbotten) and, more recently, South Australia and seeks to investigate how economic actors located in remote rural settings grasp new business opportunities through the development of new relational arrangements by mobilizing different modes of organized proximity. Recent work has especially looked at how small-scale farmers mobilize such proximities with various agents, including consumers, in the establishment of short food supply chains. I am currently co-editing a book on 'Smart Experimentations' in the context of Europe's Cohesion Policy, to be published by Routledge in the second half of 2018.


Watch the presentation I made in November 2017 in Darwin (AUS) about north Swedish experiences of Short Food Supply Chains



One red thread in my research has been to investigate globalisation in rural regions and more specifically how actors in geographically peripheral parts of Europe are engaged in multiple streams of relations that extends both locally and internationally. My contribution has especially aimed at regenerating the discourse in human geography about what constitutes a periphery by introducing more contemporary views on the changing practices by actors in a globalised world.


The transition and systemic change envisioned for rural communities arguably requires new knowledge that may not yet be available in these communities. In my upcoming research, I will investigate these new forms of relational capital that rural actors need deploy in order to enable social change and economic development. I predominantly address these issues through the lens of neoendogenous rural development theory that looks at how local rural communities are able to source, adapt and integrate extra-local factors in their development initiatives.


Ongoing project 

FORMAS - Farming futures in borderline communities of Sweden and Australia (2018-2020)

Together with Pr Dean Carson (Chares Darwin University, AUS), this project continues the pilot study started in 2017 in both Western Lapland (SWE) and Mid North South Australia (AUS) that aims to investigate how new farming-and-marketing models in small-scale farming may contribute to community develop in remote small villages. 

The project is based on a comparative analysis of two cases of ‘borderline’ regions in Sweden (Western Lapland) and Australia (Mid North). The project combines (1) the quantitative analysis of agricultural, demographic and economic historical data, (2) the compilation and analysis of responses to a community survey and follow-up in-depth interviews providing us with local relational data and (3) a community-based foresight study engaging with community actors to identify how future prospects for local agriculture may contribute to sustainable community development. The empirical evidence generated by this research will support community actors and regional policymakers in promoting innovative farming models, based on close relationships between producers and consumers, that make these communities better able to adapt to changing local conditions induced by external forces.

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FORMAS - Innovation far from major growth centres: Policy and Practice to support economic development in Europe’s northern periphery (2019-2021)

Together with PI Rhiannon Pugh from Örebro University, we explore new ways of framing 'the periphery' in contemporary regional innovation and economic geography debates.

We already know that peripheral regions are different, diverse, and even problematic in terms of their economic outcomes. This raises the question: how appropriate are theoretical perspectives developed in core regions when applied to the study, policy and practice of innovation in the periphery? This question will be answered by this project, which proposes two case studies of peripheral regions in the far north of Europe. It will make a significant contribution to re- balancing the discourse around regional innovation and establish the periphery as a crucial element in our overall conception of economic development. Ultimately it will help us to make better innovation policy in the periphery, ensuring the sustainable development of these regions.


ESPON BRIDGES (October 2017 – April 2019)

Regions with specific territorial features have received increasing attention in recent years, most notably in article 174 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). Key policy documents identify the specific types of territories in two ways: as having particular challenges, and as having particular assets, many of benefit to Europe as a whole. Addressing the opportunities and challenges of specific types of territories implies that these territories need to be considered in context rather than ‘singled out’.

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PhD in Human Geography, Stockholm University (Sweden)

Msc in Spatial Planning, Royal Technological Institute, Stockholm (Sweden)

Msc in Engineering, Ecole central de Lille (France)

Selected publications

Peer reviewed* articles/Book chapters

Dubois, A., & Thompson, M. (2020). Stayin’Alive: New Associations in Southern Lapland Farming. In Dipping in to the North (pp. 217-240). Palgrave Macmillan, Singapore.

* Dubois, A., & Carson, D. B. (2020). Sustainable agriculture and multifunctionality in the South Australia’s Mid North region. Australian Geographer.

*Dubois, A., & Carson, D. B. (2019). Die hard: On the persistence of Swedish upland farming. Journal of Rural Studies, 69, 41-52.

*Dubois, A. (2019) Translocal practices and proximities in short quality food chains
at the periphery: the case of North Swedish farmers, Agriculture & Human Values. Open Access.

*Dubois, A. & Carson, D.B. (2019) Die Hard: On the Persistence of Swedish Upland Farming, Journal of Rural Studies, 69, pp41-52. Open Access

Kristensen, I., Dubois, A. & Teräs, J. (2019) Introduction: Unveiling the Potential of Less Favoured Regions in Regional Policy, in Kristensen, I., Dubois, A. & Teräs, J. (eds) Strategic Approaches to Regional Development: Smart Experimentation in Less-Favoured Regions, Regions and Cities Series, Routledge.

Dubois, A. & Kristensen, I. (2019) The role of biorefineries in the revitalization of (old) industrial rural regions, in Kristensen, I., Dubois, A. & Teräs, J. (eds) Strategic Approaches to Regional Development: Smart Experimentation in Less-Favoured Regions, Regions and Cities Series, Routledge.

Ylinenpää, H., Kristensen, I., Dubois, A. & Teräs, J. (2019) A Concluding Note: Future prospects of entrepreneurship and innovation policy, in Kristensen, I., Dubois, A. & Teräs, J. (eds) Strategic Approaches to Regional Development: Smart Experimentation in Less-Favoured Regions, Regions and Cities Series, Routledge.

*Sörvik, J., Teräs, J., Dubois, A. & Pertodli, M. (2018) Smart Specialisation in Sparsely Populated areas - Challenges, Opportunities and New Openings, Regional Studies

*Giordano, B. & Dubois, A. (2018) Combining territory and competitiveness in EU Regional Policy? Analyzing ERDF investment profiles in regions with specific geographical features, Regional Studies,

Dubois, A. and Gromek, M. (2018) How Does Distance Come Into Play in Equity Crowdfunding?, in Teigland, R., Siri, S., Larsson, A., Moreno Puertas, A. and Ingram Bogusz, C. (eds) The Rise and Development of Fintech - Accounts of Disruption from Sweden and Beyond, Routledge.

Gromek, M. and Dubois, A. (2018) Better Funding? An Introduction to Swedish Crowdfunding, in Teigland, R., Siri, S., Larsson, A., Moreno Puertas, A. and Ingram Bogusz, C. (eds) The Rise and Development of Fintech - Accounts of Disruption from Sweden and Beyond, Routledge.

*Dubois, A. (2018). Nurturing proximities in an emerging food landscape. Journal of Rural Studies, 57, 1-12.

*Dubois, A., Carson, D. B. (2017). The relational geography of post-staples development—a case in Malå, North Sweden. The Journal of Rural and Community Development, 12(2/3), 23-40.

*Dubois, A. (2017) La dimension spatiale de l'innovation dans les régions périphériques nordiques, Revue Nordiques, Vol 33, pp. 11-24

*Dubois, A., Kristensen, I. and Teräs, J. (2017) Outsmarting geography: implementing territorial innovation strategies in sparsely populated regions, European Planning Studies, pp.1-18

*Dubois, A. and Carson, D.B. (2016) Placing northern development: the case of North Sweden, Local Economy, Vol. 31(7) 795–811

*Dubois, A. (2016) Transnationalising entrepreneurship in a peripheral region – the translocal embeddedness paradigm, Journal of Rural Studies, Volume 46, August 2016, Pages 1–11

Teräs J, Dubois A, Sorvik J, Pertoldi M. Implementing Smart Specialisation in Sparsely Populated Areas S3 Working Papers Series No. 10/2015. European Commission; 2015. JRC98691

*Dubois, A. (2015) Business networks and the competitiveness of small manufacturing firms in Sweden’s northern periphery, Norwegian Journal of Geography, 69(3), pp135-151

Dubois, A. and Hedström, M. (2015) A spatial perspective on small firm networking from a rural periphery - The case of Swedish Norrland. Published in McDonagh, J., Nienaber, B., and Woods, M. (eds) Globalization and Europe's Rural Regions, Ashgate.

Skuras, D. and Dubois, A. (2014) Business networks and translocal linkages and the way to the NRE. Published in Copus, A.K. and De Lima, P. (eds) Territorial Cohesion in Rural Europe: The Relational Turn in Rural Development, Routledge. (Recipient of the Regional Studies Association Best Book Award 2015)

Dubois, A., Copus, A. and Hedström, M. (2012) Local Embeddedness and Global Links in Rural Areas: Euclidean and Relational Space in Business Networks, in C. Hedberg, R.M. do Carmo (eds.), Translocal Ruralism, Springer Science.

*Copus A., Dubois A. and Hedström M. (2011) Expanding horizons: local embeddedness and local engagement among small firms in the European countryside, European Countryside, 2011, vol. 3, issue 3, pages 164-182

*Smith, C. & Dubois, A. (2010) The ‘Wild Cards’ of European Futures: Planning for Discontinuities?, Futures, 42 (2010) 846–855

*Gløersen, E., Lähteenmäki-Smith, K. & Dubois A. (2007) Polycentricity in Transnational Planning Initiatives: ESDP applied or ESDP reinvented? Planning Practices & Research, Vol. 22, No. 3, pp. 395-415, August 2007



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