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Stina Powell

Stina Powell
Head of Department, Urban and Rural Development, Associate Professor at the Unit of Environmental Communication at the Department.


I am Head of Department at Urban and Rural Development and associate professor and researcher in environmental communication.

I am Adjunct Associate Professor, University of the Sunshine Coast, Faculty of Arts, Business and Law, Sustainability Research Centre

I am also Adjunct Associate Professor at Lincoln University, NZ.




I teach gender, organizations and environment at SLU. I am also teaching at our master program in Environmental Communication and Management, ECM where I primarily have worked with the Introduction course and the Internship course.


I have a specific focus on feminist theory and gender perspectives on forestry and sustainability transitions. I also have an interest and done research in organisational studies and meritocracy. 
I work in the Shadow Forests project (Formas) and in two other forest related research projects. One with a focus on young people and the future of forestry and the other on the polarized forestry debate in Sweden. 
Read more about Shadow forests here:

Previous research projects:
In my Formas project "The value of stakeholder participation in collaborative research projects for sustainable development: A gender and intersectional analysis" (Formas 2018-2021) I asked questions about whose perspectives, knowledge and participation we see in the present environmental discourse. A gender perspective on this gives the opportunity to display relations of power and influence in order to develop the environmental governance and policy. The aim is to investigate who participates and why in collaborative research projects aiming at sustainable development.

In the project To stop counting bodies: New ideas for a gender equal forest sector (Skogssällskapet 2018-2021) the focus was on the gender equality discourse in the forestry sector, through the lens of the forestry education at SLU, and the #metoo. How do the ways do we talk about, think about and do gender have material lived effects in the forestry sector? /

My PhD thesis Gender Equality and Meritocracy: Contradictory discourses in the Academy (2016) examines how gender equality measures and discourses are reconciled with notions of merit in academia. Gender equality is often defined as equal rights for women and men and has become a widely accepted political goal and vision. Meritocratic principles build on the assumption that everyone, regardless of gender, class, race and sexuality, has the same opportunities to advance provided they are sufficiently hardworking and intelligent. Meritocratic principles thus build on the assumption that objective evaluations are possible. Along these lines, inequalities in academia are a natural outcome and not the result of discrimination. However, feminist studies have shown that meritocratic practices fail to reach these objective evaluations and that gendered norms influence who is considered merited and not. This awareness of discrimination leads to academic organisations being required to act upon inequalities and ensure that gender equality measures are taken, despite the strong conviction that meritocracy is already in place. Thus, we have two contradictory discourses that have to be reconciled in order to co-exist in academia. Through which processes does this reconciliation take place? With a view to answering this, I examine a gender equality project at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SLU. The material includes interviews, focus-group interviews, surveys, participant observations and literature reviews. The research methodology is based on action research and the analysis on relational and critical discourse analysis. The research finds that meritocracy and gender equality are reconciled through three processes; 1) by creating the gender inequality discourse as a matter for the individual, not the organisation 2) through depoliticisation of gender equality where administration rather than inequalities are in focus and 3) through a process of decoupling where gender equality is separated from the permanent organisation. These processes make it possible for meritocracy and gender equality to co-exist as two important principles of academic practice, despite their contradicting values. However, this separation of discourses contributes to the persistence of inequality in academic organisations. Further, these three processes work to silence counter discourses on gender equality that have become visible in the Gender Equality Project.


I am co-supervising PhD candidate Sanna Barrineau, MISTRA Environmental Communication and University of the Sunshine Coast.
I am also co-supervising doctoral student Kornelia Johansson, environmental communication. 

I supervise masterstudents in our program Environmental Communication and Management.
* Norman, Anna, 2014. Interpretations of meat consumption: a critical analysis of interpretative repertoires of individuals working in an environmental NGO
* Jara Snippe (2017)  To fly or not to fly : analysing interpretive repertoires to negotiate air travel among individuals working for an environmental NGO in Sweden
* Samantha Huhn (2017) From feminism to gender equality– Exploring interpretations surrounding feminist energy policy in Sweden

*Maria Eduarda Rigo Cavinato (2018) "Beyond Milk Framing milk and oat-drink campaigns in Sweden"

* Sandra Nilsson (2018) "The practice of recycling : understanding people´s motivations and barriers"

* Rebecca Larson (2019) "Who is responsible for the shift to a more sustainable society? : how politicians view responsibility and accountability for environmental problems"

* Hampus Rydberg (2019) "Illuminating   perceptions   about   communication    in environmental consultancy organizations"

* Zia Louise Ponting Flook (2020) The Meaning of Tree Planting – A Symbolic Interactionist understanding of the behaviour of tree planting in The Byron Shire  

* Diandra van Duijn (2020) The Importance of Gender Equality in Climate Action. An investigation into how UN member states view the relation between gender equality and climate action

* Therese Maria Gunnars (2021) Discursive limitations and opportunities in environmentalmedia communication – A critical discourse analysis of the Preemraff Lysekil debate

* Ana Hassiel Rios Chavez (2022) The illusion of Co-management: Understanding conflict in PANACOMA, Honduras.

* Amelie Claire Grassl (2022) Environmentally friendly diets: Perceptions and Behaviours of Sustainability Students.




Selected publications

Grubbström A. & Powell, S. (2023) Från hashtag till handling – skogsutbildningens metoo-rörelse i spåren av #slutavverkat. Kapitel i antologi om #metoo i Sverige. Nordic Academic Press: Lund

Powell, S. & Arora-Jonsson, S. (2022) Den politiska korrekthethetens etik. Att arbeta för jämställdhet. Deltagarbaserad forskning – i tvärdisciplinära fält för lärande och utveckling. Lund: Studentlitteratur.

Powell, S. & Grubbström A. (2021) Leading gender equality change in higher education- the case of forestry. The Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension.

Powell, S. & Arora Jonsson, S. (2021) The Conundrums of Formal and Informal Meritocracy: Dealing with Gender Segregation in the Academy. High Educ.

Grubbström, A. and Powell, S. (2020). Persistent norms and the# MeToo effect in Swedish forestry education. Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research, 35(5-6), pp.308-318.

Powell, S. & Grubbström, A. (2021) Att leda jämställdhetsarbete- vems ansvar är det när det kommer till kritan? En studie av jägmästarprogrammet vid SLU. Tidskrift för Genusvetenskap. 

Joosse, S. & S. Powell et al. (2020) Critical, Engaged and Change-oriented Scholarship in Environmental Communication. Six Methodological Dilemmas to Think with, Environmental Communication, DOI: 10.1080/17524032.2020.1725588

Powell, S. (2020) Vem får vara med och bestämma om framtiden egentligen? Tidskriften PLAN, nr. 1-2.

Powell, S. (2018) Gender Equality in Academia: Intentions and Consequences. In: The International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities, and Nations: Annual Review, 18:1. doi:

N. Powell, R. Kløcker Larsen, A. de Bruin, S. Powell and C. Elrick-Barr (2017) Water Security in Times of Climate Change and Intractability: Reconciling Conflict by Transforming Security Concerns into Equity Concerns, in Water, 9(12), 934; doi:10.3390/w9120934

Powell, S., Ah-King, M. & Hussénius A. (2017) ‘Are we to become a gender university?’ Facets of resistance to a gender equality project. Gender Work Organization, 2017;1–17.

Powell, S. (2016) Gender equality and meritocracy: Contradictory discourses in the academy, Department of Urban and Rural Development, SLU, ISBN: 978-91-576-8536-0.

Powell, S. & S. Arora-Jonsson (2015) The Ethics of Political Correctness. In: Understanding Social Science Research Ethics: Inter-disciplinary and Cross-Cultural Perspectives for a Globalising World, Publisher: Routledge, forthcoming. 2015., Editors: K. Nakray, M. Alston and K. Whittenbury (eds)


Westberg L. & Stina Powell (2015): Participate for Women's Sake? A Gender Analysis of a Swedish Collaborative Environmental Management Project, Society & Natural Resources: An International Journal, DOI: 10.1080/08941920.2015.1014594 


Powell, S., Ah-King, M. (2013). A case study of integrating gender perspectives in teaching and in subject content at a natural science university in Sweden, International Journal of Gender, Science and Technology, Vol.5, No.1

Klocker Larsen, R., S. Powell, T. Peterson, N. Sriskandarajah. (2010)Towards a learning model of ICT application for development: Lessons from a networked dialogue in Sweden. Information Communication and Society 13(1):136–150 .


Media 2020

My blogposts in Curie, run by the Swedish Research Council: here (in Swedish):

Earlier media:

Replik: Vaga referenser till ”läroboksmaterial” Uppsala Nya Tidning, 2019-07-22, Klara Fischer, Stina Powell, Seema Arora Jonsson

Skogsnäringen behöver inte en långsam jämställdhetsprocess, debattartikel i Tidningen Skogen, November 2018.


Head of department, Researcher at the Department of Urban and Rural Development; Division of Environmental Communication
Telephone: +4618672509, +46736291418
Postal address:
Inst för stad och land, Box 7012
Visiting address: Ulls väg 27, Uppsala