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2012: Finished PhD projects

Human Ecology Division


Kenneth Hermele

     "Land Matters. Agrofuels, Unequal Exchange, and Appropriation of Ecological Space"

  • Presentation: Defence date: 22nd September 2012. As a global society we are entering an era where land areas and land-based resources are coming to the fore once again for capital accumulation and economic growth, for the first time since the end of the 18th century when Malthus forecasted a contradiction between population growth and agricultural output. That constraint on economic growth, imposed by limited land areas, was overcome by the combination of fossil fuels (coal, oil) and appropriation of space overseas (colonialism, trade). Today we are entering a period of peak oil, and this restraint on growth is accompanied by the recognition that mitigating climate change requires a veto on the use of other fossil fuels as well as on further deforestation; thus peak oil co-exists with peak soil, at least this is the assumption on which I build my argument. Agrofuels cannot - not even in Brazil, my case study - help but intensify this conflict as each increase in land use has a tendency to lead to direct and indirect land use changes in the global system.

Department of Human Geography


Johanna Bergman Lodin

     " Engendered promises, gendered challenges. Changing patterns of labor, control and benefits among smallholder households growing NERICA in Uganda" 

  • Presentation: Date of defence: 13th April 2012. NERICA is a new group of high‐yielding and stress‐tolerant upland rice varieties, developed by the Africa Rice Center to address the continent‐wide rice challenge, poverty and food insecurity. Recognizing that African women farmers do not always benefit from the introduction of productivity‐enhancing technology and higher‐value crops, the aim of my thesis is to understand processes leading to NERICA‐related wellbeing outcomes among differently comprised grower households in Hoima District, Uganda, by examining inter‐ and intrahousehold gender dynamics. More specifically, I analyze how the cultivation of NERICA influences smallholder women, men and children’s daily lives and wellbeing. My thesis is qualitatively designed and driven in that I am particularly interested in understanding and elucidating the subjective and embodied experiences of the NERICA growers in Hoima District. In researching their complex, gendered realities I have been using an integrated mixed methods approach. Supervisor: Magnus Jirström (KEG; main supervisor), Göran Djurfeldt (Department of Sociology, LU) and Susan Paulson (KEG).

Tore Anstain Dobloug

     "Høyvekstbedrifter og regionale finansieringssystemer" ("High Growth Firms and Regional Financial Systems")

  • Presentation: Date of defence: 1st June 2012. The purpose of the thesis is to increase understanding of the impact of financial institutions on regional growth. It helps to develop established concepts and perceptions on the impact of financial institutions on economic development in less well-functioning regions. Agglomeration theory is based on a general assumption of a reduced likelihood of economic cooperation through increased geographical distance. This study analyzes whether high-growth firms in less central regions have poorer access to risk capital. Three concepts are central to the thesis: financing, high-growth firms and centrality. Financing, because capital is a necessary prerequisite for entrepreneurship and an important part of the innovation system, high-growth firms because they are important for employment and the country's competitiveness, and centrality because the financial system in less central areas is generally not as well developed as in larger agglomerations.

Ingrid Helene Garmann Johnsen

     "Social Capital and Regional Innovation Systems - Bridging approaches and broadening understanding of knowledge sharing and innovation"

  • Presentation: Date of defence: 7th September 2012. This doctoral thesis takes as a starting point that geographical location remains fundamental to gain competitive advantage for some types of firms and activities even though economic activity in general has become more global. The region is seen as the key level in which the innovative capability of firms is shaped, coordinated and governed. This is in line with the regional innovation systems (RIS) approach to innovation that has been widely accepted in economic geography literature the last decade. However, while there has been a focus on the regional factors that influence innovation activity in firms and industries, little attention has been given to the role of social capital for knowledge sourcing and knowledge transfer in regional industries. Thus, this doctoral thesis attempts to link the theoretical frameworks of social capital and regional innovation systems. It examines the specific types of social capital, understood as the institutions, relationships, attitudes and values that govern interaction among actors (individuals, firms and organizations) that are most relevant in stimulating innovation activity in firms in different regional settings. In doing so, the thesis attempts to contribute to our understanding of regional innovation by focusing on the nature of collaboration, knowledge sharing, and knowledge transfer within and between firms.

Roman Martin

     "Knowledge Bases and the Geography of Innovation"

  • Presentation: Defence date: 2nd October 2012. The PhD thesis deals with the role of geography for innovation in different industries. The thesis applies a regional innovation systems perspective where innovation is seen as the result of interactive learning involving various actors from industry, academia and governments, which collectively contribute to regional innovation. Moreover, the thesis takes a broad-based view where innovation is seen as important for all sectors of the economy. A distinction between industries is made based on the type of knowledge that underlies innovation activities (i.e. analytical, synthetic and symbolic). When, why and how the geography of innovation differs subject to industry specific difference in the knowledge base is a key question addressed in this dissertation.  The research design is inspired by critical realist ontology, epistemology and methodology, and draws on a mix of qualitative and quantitative research methods. The empirical focus is on several clusters in different parts of Europe, with the main attention on the new media, food and life science industries in Scania, southern Sweden.  The dissertation consists of five articles that are published in peer-reviewed journals. The book can be accessed here. Key words: economic geography, regional innovation systems, learning regions, differentiated knowledge bases, knowledge networks, social network analysis, Scania, Sweden

Patrik Olsson

     "Ömse sidor om vägen; Allén och landskapet i Skåne 1700-1900" ("Both Sides of the Road: Avenues and the Lanscape in Scania 1700-1900")

  • Presentation: Defence date: 15th June 2012. This thesis is about avenues (tree-lined roads – in Swedish alléer). Avenues are a characteristic landscape element in many parts of Scania. This is an object created by man with a clear visual effect in the landscape. The avenue is also something which is both nature and culture, a man-made object from nature. The purpose of the thesis is to describe, analyse and discuss the historical geography of avenues in Scania during the period 1700–1900. Important aspects to consider are the physical and morphological development of the landscape and also how people have conceived the landscape during the study period. How has man viewed landscape? The thesis discusses the topic of landscape and power. Important questions are: Why have avenues been planted along roads? When did this start and how has it developed? Where were avenues planted and what types of species have been used. In order to deepen our understanding, more philosophical questions have also been addressed. What practical, symbolic and aesthetic reasons have been found? Have these aspects changed through time and do they differ depending on the character of the landscape?

Monica Plechero

     "The changing geography of innovation - Chinese and Indian regions and the global flows of innovation"

  • Presentation: Defence date: 11th December 2012. Despite the recent theoretical and empirical advancements in the geography of innovation literature regarding the role that global sources of knowledge may have for regional growth and development, research in this field remains focused on successful regions and clusters in developed countries. Hitherto there has been limited research on the role of regions located in developing countries and the different types of global flows of innovation that link firms located in those regions with the rest of the world. Furthermore, most of the geography of innovation literature remains at the meso level (regional and sectorial), and almost ignores the interplay with firm-level characteristics. Using an interdisciplinary perspective, the thesis contributes to the literature by combining the geography of innovation studies with international business and innovation studies to integrate the meso dimension with the global and micro dimensions.
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