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Ellinor Isgren

PhD Candidate - Member of LUCID Research School


My background is in Environmental science (B.Sc. Lund University) and Agricultural science (M.Sc. Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Alnarp). I joined LUCSUS and LUCID as a PhD candidate in Sustainability Science in October 2013. I have long been passionate about environmental issues, and over time have developed a particular interest in the challenging nexus of agriculture-development-sustainability.

Current Research

My PhD thesis explores the rationale and potential of agroecology as an alternative development pathway, through the case of Uganda. The Ugandan government has shown a renewed interest in the agricultural sector as a key area for achieving broad based development. Through modernization of agriculture, the argument goes, rural populations can be lifted out of poverty and agriculture can fuel growth throughout the entire economy. But in many parts of the world, the modernization process has resulted in farming systems increasingly understood as deeply unsustainable. The socio-economic impacts are also highly questionable when the proposed means of raising productivity exclude the poor, have limited (or even negative) effects on rural employment, and other sources of income are scarce. So while there are still strong arguments for seeking agricultural modernization in principle, there is a need for rethinking what kinds of technological and institutional change this actually entails.

In recent years, a growing number of voices in academia, international development, and social movements have been saying that agroecology has the potential to “feed the world” sustainably and equitably.  What are the prospects for doing so in Uganda? Who is calling for it, how do they implement it, and what stands in the way? These are the questions that drive my PhD research. My thesis will elaborate on the meaning, merits and drawbacks of agroecology as a development approach, the structural barriers existing in the Ugandan context, and how those barriers might be overcome - focusing on the role of civil society organizations in both policy advocacy and the facilitation of broader (farmer-based) mobilization.


I am involved in various LUMES courses, particularly Economy & Sustainability and Urban & Rural Systems. I enjoy supervising LUMES students in thesis writing, and have been engaged in 'Social Science Labs' during the first year of LUMES. I also coordinate the course 'Sustainability Studies: Concepts, Challenges and Approaches' that LUCSUS offers to exchange students at bachelor level.

Outside of LUMES I sporadically teach and supervise on topics related to food, agriculture and rural development, for example in SIMP35 (Theories and issues in development) at the Social Science Graduate School.


Retrieved from Lund University's publications database



Retrieved from Lund University's publications database


Retrieved from Lund University's publications database

Page Manager:
Ellinor Isgren
E-mail: ellinor [dot] isgren [at] lucsus [dot] lu [dot] se

Doctoral student

LUCSUS (Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies)

+46 46 222 16 93

+46 76 196 29 35

Wrangel, 205

Wrangel, Biskopsgatan 5, Lund


P.O. Box 170, SE-222 70 Lund, Sweden
Phone: +46(0)46- 222 80 81
info [at] lucsus [dot] lu [dot] se