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Seema Arora-Jonsson

Seema Arora Jonsson
Professor,  Rural Development in Sweden and Europe.


At the center of my research and teaching interests is a critical engagement with questions of rural development, environmental governance and feminist thinking. At the moment I am working on three interrelated themes: New Rural Governance: Changing Relations of Democracy; Multiple Dimensions of Sustainability in Rural Europe; and Climate Transitions across the global North and South. 

These themes are all shaped by the need to examine rural development in its specific and the particular situation, but in the context of wider transnational currents and relations. Questions of gender, race, ethnicity, class and geography are central to my analyses.  Issues of research approach engage me a) the doing of the research - participatory research, ethics and b) analytically – analyzing environmental questions in a North-South perspective in the globalizing context of environmental governance.

The recorded inauguration lecture in March 2019 »

The presentation film »


I teach on gender, development and environment as well as qualitative and participatory methods at different levels – undergraduate, master and postgraduate.

Coordinator for the Ph.D course, Gender, Development and Environmental Governance offered at our department. Next course: Autumn 2019.


In a Formas financed project, Cimate Transitions in Contested Forests: Justice and Governance in Digital Times, I lead a team of researchers from different fields and universities to investigate how we may bring about just and sustainable climate transtions in Sweden where conflicts over forests are complex and appear intractable.  

In the project, Migrant Relations and Rural Environments: A neglected dimension of sustainable development, we study how migration is changing rural Sweden and through that, preconditions for sustainability and social justice. The project investigates how migration and nature-based integration could contribute to sustainable rural development in Sweden. 

In the Formas financed project, Re-structuring the Rural North: Tensions and prospects for Sustainable Development, we investigate how initiatives for intensified resource extraction are restructuring rural spaces and leading to new forms of governance in the global North. We employ a cross national comparison of mining initiatives in Sweden and Canada, that share several geographical, resource, economic, and social characteristics, but differ markedly in terms of indigenous government. Identifying practical strategies for sustainable development in the two places, the research contributes to the creation of policy strategies that balance international and national energy needs with environmental and local community sustainability.

Recently concluded projects:

In the project Gender and Sustainable Development: Policy and Practice in Environmental Management financed by the Swedish Research Council, Vetenskapsrådet, I contrast domestic environmental policy-making and practice in Sweden with Swedish development aid policy and examine why popular participation and gender that are promoted in development aid are sidelined in domestic forest policy. I theorize the different influences and political and moral assumptions that shape policy with regard to gender and participation in domestic Swedish policy and in its policy abroad.

Gender and Ethnicity in Swedish Rural Development (financed by Formas)

Gender and REDD+: Global Instruments and Changing Environmental Governance (financed by Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Gendered Structures of Climate Change (financed by Vetenskapsrådet/Formas)



I supervise master and phd students.

Phd supervision on:

1. Gender Equality and Meritocracy. Contradictory discourses in the academy: Stina Powell, March 2016. 

2. Women's cattle ownership in Botswana: rebranding gender relations? Andrea Pettit, April 2016.

3. Turning the Tables on REDD+ : Gender, Forests and Climate Policy in Burkian Faso, Lisa Westholm, defending 2017.

4. Financialization of Natural Resources: The Case of Mining in Northern Sweden, Katarina Landström, ongoing.

5. Mines, discourses and micro-politics of environmental governance in a local community, Arvid Stiernström, ongoing.


6. Swedish Forest Policy and Global Influences, Department of Forest Products, SLU. Sara Holmgren, May, 2015.

7. The role of women in shaping the built environment in informal settlements in urban Uganda, Department of Architecture, Makerere University, Uganda/ Department of Urban and Rural Development, SLU. Eiman Alwida. Defending: 2016. 

Selected publications

Contributing author, Working Group II contribution to the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report, Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Cross-Chapter Box GENDER: Gender, Climate Justice and Transformative Pathways. 

Publications in international peer-reviewed scientific journals 

de Lima, P, Leach, B, Radford, D & Arora-Jonsson, S (2022) Editorial: The Well-being of International Migrants in Rural Areas: Bridging the Migration-Development Nexus, Front Sociol. 2022; 7: 870810. doi: 10.3389/fsoc.2022.870810.

Arora-Jonsson, S (2022) Systemskifte för vem: Landsbygden och den stora galenskapen. In: Altermark N and Dahlstedt M (eds) Bortom Systemskiftet: Mot en ny gemenskap. Stockholm: Verbal, pp.517-538.

MacGregor S, Arora-Jonsson S and Cohen M (2022) Caring in a changing climate: Centering care work in climate action Reportno. Report Number|, Date. Place Published|: Institution|.

Morrissey J, MacGregor S and Arora-Jonsson S (2022) Addressing the climate and care crisis. tanford Social and Innovation Review. DOI: DOI: 10.48558/sv59-e431.

Stiernström A and Arora-Jonsson S (2022) Territorial Narratives: Talking Claims in Open moments Geoforum. 129, 74-84.

Arora-Jonsson S, Colfer CP and Gonalez-Hidalgo M (2021) Seeing the Quiet Politics in Unquiet Woods: A different vantage point for a future forest agenda Human Ecology. Forthcoming June.

Arora-Jonsson S and Larsson O (2021) Lives in limbo: Migrant integration and rural governance in Sweden. Journal of Rural Studies 82: 19-28.

Arora-Jonsson S and Ågren M. (2019) Bringing Diversity to Nature: Politicizing gender, race and class in environmental organizations. Environment and Planning E. 

Arora-Jonsson S and Basnett BS. (2018) Disciplining Gender in Environmental Organizations: The Texts and Practices of Gender Mainstreaming. Gender, Work & Organization 25: 309-325. 

McLeaod E, Arora-Jonsson S, Masudac YJ, et al. (2018) Raising the voices of Pacific Island women to inform climate adaptation policies. Marine Policy 93: 178-185.  

Westholm L and Arora-Jonsson S. (2018) What room for politics and change in global climate governance? Addressing gender in co-benefits and safeguards. Environmental Politics 27: 917-938. 

Arora-Jonsson, S. (2017a) Integration and Development at a Crossroads: Culture, Race and Ethnicity in Rural Sweden, Environment and Planning A. 49 (7), 1594-1612. 

Arora-Jonsson, S. (2017c), Blind Spots in Environmental Policy-Making: How beliefs about Science and Development may jeopardize environmental solutions. World Development Perspectives, 5, 27-29. 

Arora-Jonsson, S. (2017), Policy Discourses and Marginal Places: Histories of Environmental Democracy in India and Sweden, Social Sciences, 6 (1) 33.  

Arora-Jonsson, S. (2017b), The realm of freedom in new rural governance: micropolitics of democracy in Sweden, Geoforum, 79 (58-69), 2017.  

Elias, M and Arora-Jonsson, S. (2017), Negotiating Across Difference: Gendered Exclusions and Cooperation in the Shea Value Chain, Environment and Planning D. Vol. 35(1) 107–125.  

Arora-Jonsson, S. (2016), Does Resilience have a culture? Ecocultures and the Politics of Knowledge Production, Ecological Economics, 121 (98-107). 

Arora-Jonsson, S, Westholm, L, Temu, BT and Pettit, A, (2016), “Carbon and Cash in Climate Assemblages: The Making of a New Global Citizenship,” Antipode. 48 (1) 74-96.  2016.  

Westholm, L and Arora-Jonsson, S. (2015), “Defining solutions, finding problems: deforestation, gender and REDD+ in Burkina Faso,” in Conservation and Society, 13 (2). 

Holmgren, S and Arora-Jonsson, S. (2015), “The Forest Kingdom – With What Values for the World? Gender equality and climate change in a new Swedish forest policy context,” Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research, 30:3 (235-245).  

Arora-Jonsson, Seema, “Forty years of gender research and environmental policy: where do we stand” in Women’s Studies International Forum, 47 (295-308). 2014.

Arora-Jonsson, Seema “Virtue and Vulnerability: Discourses on women, gender and climate change” in Global Environmental Change, 21:744-751. 2011. 
Also translated into French, Arora-Jonsson, S, “Vertu et vulnérabilité: Les discours sur les femmes, le genre et le changement climatique” in Anne-Marie Devreux (ed), Les Sciences et le Genre: Déjouer l’androcentrisme. Pgs. 81-95. Presses Universitaires de Rennes.  

Arora-Jonsson, Seema, “Particular and wider interests in natural resource management: Organizing together but separately” in Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research, 25 (Suppl. 9): 33-44. 2010. 

Arora-Jonsson, Seema, “Discordant Connections: Discourses on Gender and Grassroots Activism in Forest Communities in India and Sweden” in Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, vol. 35, no. 1. 2009. Article awarded the Catherine Stimpson prize for outstanding feminist scholarship.
Reproduced in C.J.P Colfer, M. Elias, B Basnett & S. Hummel (eds). Classics in Gender and Environment, London, 2017.
Also translated into Swedish, Arora-Jonsson, S, “Disharmoniska förbindelser: Diskurser om genus och gräsrotsaktivism i två skogssamhällen i Indien och Sverige” with an introduction by Pär-Anders Svärd, “Den könade landsbygdens globala mening. Introduktion till Seema Arora-Jonsson,” Tidskrift för Genusvetenskap, 46 (1) 2016.

Arora-Jonsson, Seema, ”Bortom den rätta frågan. Metodologiska innebörder av att forska tillsammans” (Beyond the right question: Methodological Implications of doing research together) in Tidskrift för Genusvetenskap (Journal of Gender Research), nr. 2, 2008.

Arora-Jonsson, Seema, “Relational Dynamics and Strategies: Men and Women in a Forest Community in Sweden,” Agriculture and Human Values, Volume 21, Issue 4, 2004.

Peer reviewed Books or Monographs 

Arora-Jonsson, Seema, Gender, Development and Environmental Governance: Theorizing Connections, Routledge, London/New York. 2013. (Single authored)  

Andrea Cornwall, Katja Jassey, Seema Arora Jonsson and Patta Scott-Villiers, The Beast of Bureaucracy and other tales from Valhalla, Institute of Development Studies, Brighton, 2007. 

Peer reviewed book chapters

Arora-Jonsson S and Leder S (2020) Gender Mainstreaming in Agricultural and Forestry Institutions. In: Sachs C, Jensen L, Castellanos P, et al. (eds) Routledge Handbook of Gender and Agriculture. New York: Routledge, pp.15-31.

Pyburn R, Kruijssen NJ, F. PA, Arora-Jonsson, S et al. (2020) Gender, agriculture, and shifting food systems under coronavirus global pandemic. In: Sachs C, Jensen L, Castellanos P, et al. (eds) Routledge Handbook of Gender and Agriculture. London: Routledge, pp.435-452.

Arora-Jonsson, S. (2019), “Indigeneity and Climate Justice in Northern Sweden” in Bhavnani, K, Foran, J, Kurian, P and Munshi, D (eds), Climate Futures: Reimagining Global Climate Justice, Zed Books. Pgs 82-91.  

Arora-Jonsson, S. (Convening Lead Author), Agarwal, S, Colfer, C, Keene, S, Kurian, P and Larson, A (2019), “SDG 5: Gender Equality: A Precondition for Sustainable Forestry” in Katila, P, Colfer, C, Jong, W, Galloway, G, Pacheko, P and Winkel, G (eds), Sustainable Development Goals: Their Impacts on Forests and Peoples, Cambridge University Press.   

McDermott, C (CLA), Acheampong, E, Arora-Jonsson, S, Asare, R, Jong, W, Hirons, M, Khatun, K, Menton, M, Nunan, F, Poudyal, M and Setyowati, A, (2019), “SDG 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions – A Political Ecology Perspective” in Katila, P, Colfer, C, Jong, W, Galloway, G, Pacheko, P and Winkel, G (eds), Sustainable Development Goals: Their Impacts on Forests and Peoples, Cambridge University Press.  

Arora-Jonsson, S, (2018) “Across the Development Divide: Environmental Democracy in the global North and South” in Terry Marsden (ed) Sage Handbook of Nature, Vol. 2, 2018. 737-760.  

Arora-Jonsson, S, (2017), “Gender Research and Environmental Policy” in Sherilyn MacGregor (ed.) Routledge International Handbook of Gender and Environment, Chapter 19.  

Powell, S and Arora-Jonsson, S, (2015) “The ethics of political correctness” in Nakray, K, Alston, M and Whittenbury, K (eds), Understanding Social Science Research Ethics: Inter-disciplinary and Cross-Cultural Perspectives for a Globalising World, Pgs. 112-139. Routledge, 2015. 

Arora-Jonsson, S, “Beyond Knowledge and Information: Making sense of local governance”, in Rigling Gallagher, Deborah (ed.) Environmental Leadership: A Reference Handbook, Sage Publications. 2012. 

Arora-Jonsson, S, “A different vantage point: decentralization, women’s organizing and local forest management” in Carol Colfer, Ganga Dahal and Doris Capistrano (eds.) Lessons from Forest Decentralization: Money, Justice and the Quest for Good Governance in the Asia-Pacific, pgs. 49-65. Earthscan, London. 2008. 

Arora-Jonsson, S,“Shifting images of the community: gender and the local management of forests”, in Ildiko Astalos and Bettina Bock (eds.), Gender Regimes, citizen participation and rural restructuring, Elsevier, Oxford/Amsterdam/San Diego. 2008. 

Arora-Jonsson, S, “’Women are like boats’: Discourse, policy and collective action” in Naila Kabeer and Agneta Stark (eds.) Global Perspectives on Nordic Approaches to Gender Equality. Routledge, London/New York. 2008.

Arora-Jonsson, S, ‘“Research sounds so big..”-Collaborative inquiry with women in Drevdagen’ in Louise Fortmann (ed.) Participatory Research in Conservation: Doing Science Together, pgs. 130-145. Blackwell-Wiley. 2008. 

Arora-Jonsson, S et al., “Lessons from the case-studies”, in Louise Fortmann (ed.) Participatory Research in Conservation: Doing Science Together, pgs. 245-263. Blackwell-Wiley. 2008. 

Arora-Jonsson, S, ”Att forska tillsammans” in Britta Wingård och Lars Holmstrand (eds.) Livslångtnyfikenhet – Festskrift till Gunilla Härnsten, Lärarhögskolans Förlag, Stockholm. 2006.  

Arora-Jonsson, S and Andrea Cornwall, “Making Connections: Learning about Participation in a Large Aid Bureaucracy”, in Rosalind Eyben (ed.), Relationships for Aid, Earthscan, London/Sterling/VA. 2006. 

Arora-Jonsson, S, “Globalisation, Rurality and Women, Some thoughts on women’s organizing in Sweden and India” in Kjell Havnevik, Tekeste Negash and Atakilte Beyene (eds.) Of Global Concern: Rural Livelihood Dynamics and Natural Resource Governance, Sida Studies, no. 16, Stockholm. 2006.

Report (in Swedish)

Katarina Pettersson and Seema Arora-Jonsson, Den osynliga entreprenören: Genus och företagande i de gröna näringarna En litteratur översikt (The invisible entrepreneur: Gender in the green industries and enterprise, A literature review), Report for LRFs Jämställdhetsakademi (Federation of Swedish Farmers’ Academy for Gender Equality), 2009.  

Popular Science Articles

Arora-Jonsson S (2020) Hållbarhet och klimaträttvisa: I kölvattnet av det amerikanska valet. In: Bolin N, Falasca K, Grusell M, et al. (eds) Sjärnspäckat: Reflektioner från amerikanska presidentvalet 2020 av ledande forskare. Sweden: Mittuniversitetet.

Greta Thunberg and School Climate Strikes: One Question in State of Nature Blog

Debate article in daily newspaper Uppsala Nya Tidning: ”Kvinnliga Professorer: en bidrag till en faktabaserad debatt.” 

The EU needs a stability and wellbeing pact, not more growth,” Guardian, September 16, 2018.  

”Vid vilken vägkorsning: Integration och utveckling på landsbygden” (At a Crossroads: Integration and Development in Rural Areas) in Papers from Racism Studies, Centrum för Mångvetenskaplig Forskning om Rasism (Cemfor), Uppsala, 2020.

Seema Arora-Jonsson, “Some thoughts on gender, women and climate change,” Journal of Nordregio, No. 4, December 2009.  

Seema Arora-Jonsson, “Where is the gender in climate change?” Geography and You ( September-October 2009.

Seema Arora-Jonsson, “Networking for dialogue and action, An example from the Forests Trees and People Programme”, Forests Trees and People Newsletter, No.40/41, December 1999 / January 2000.

Stina Powell, Seema Arora-Jonsson et al, Debate article in national daily (DN Debatt, 2014): "Informell inkvotering av män måste bort först".


Professor at the Department of Urban and Rural Development; Division of Rural Development
Telephone: +4618671192, +46705149497
Postal address:
Inst för stad och land, Box 7012
Visiting address: Ulls väg 27, Uppsala