Gabriella Elgenius


Department of Sociology and Work Science
Visiting address
Skanstorget 18
41122 Göteborg
Postal address
Box 720
40530 Göteborg

About Gabriella Elgenius

About Gabriella Elgenius

Gabriella Elgenius is Professor in Sociology at the Department of Sociology and Work Science. She received her doctorate as a Marie Curie Fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) in 2005, and later held a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship (2007-2011) at the Department of Sociology and Nuffield College at the University of Oxford. She was a lecturer and researcher at the University of Oxford between 2005-2014 and previously lectured at the LSE, Birkbeck College and SOAS at the University of London.

Gabriella research is within the field of political sociology. She is currently engaging with research within two main areas (i) civil society and integration in vulnerable areas and (ii) ethnic nationalism, populism and the rise of the Radical Right. Gabriella works with mixed methods and comparative qualitative designs. She is the project lead for: LOCALiTIES on civil society and employability in multicultural areas in Sweden and the UK (FORTE); RETHINKING INTEGRATION on domains of integration and civil society in vulnerable areas in Sweden (VR), and EMPOWERING CITIES of MIGRATION on socio-spatial integration, housing and local participation in Sweden, Germany and the UK (FORMAS). Gabriella is a co-applicant for the projects "Why Do Working Class Voters Support the Populist Radical Right?" (VR) led by Jens Rydgren, SU, and the FORTE programme "The Challenges of Polarization on the Swedish Labour Market" (FORTE) led by Tomas Berglund, GU.

Gabriella teaches and supervises in her research areas in political sociology, with a focus on integration, civil society, nationalism, radical right movements, and ethnic and gender stratification in organizations. She teaches courses in qualitative research methods and theory, theoretical coding and Grounded Theory on Master and PhD levels and is Co-Director for the Swedish Social Resarch Council's Graduate Progamme/ Research School for Migration and Integration.

Gabriella is Associate Member at the Department of Sociology at the University of Oxford, fellow of the RSA the Royal Society of Arts in London, and a member of the Steering Committee for the Centre for the Study on Nationalism at University of Copenhagen.

Ongoing Research Projects:

Rethinking Integration: a comparative mixed methods study of civil society action in vulnerable superdiverse neighbourhoods in Sweden (funded by Swedish Research Council, VR): This project builds on a multi-dimensional approach to integration and inclusion and aim for a detailed picture of civil society’s role in aiding integration, to develop theory around integration and social capital while contributing to long-standing debates about civil society, integration and diversity. The project fills a gap in current scholarship by approaching civil society responses to integration across multiple domains in Sweden’s so called ‘vulnerable areas’, linking these to the local context of vulnerability, to superdiversity, to formal and informal variants of civil society and variants of social capital:

LOCALiTIES: The role of civil society in supporting employability in diverse areas in Sweden and the United Kingdom (funded by FORTE):

This project explores the role of civil society in supporting employability and access to the labour market in diverse neighbourhoods in Sweden and the UK. The local context is especially relevant since civil society is increasingly recognised in supporting residents accessing local labour markets. More specifically, our aim is to investigate under what conditions and by which mechanisms civil society initiatives supports employability in diverse neighbourhoods in Sweden and the UK. We compare these two countries, both diverse and with different welfare systems that impact the environments within which civil society operates. Both Sweden and the UK are also experiencing a transition towards welfare pluralism in recent years.The little work undertaken on civil society and its role in supporting access to employment, has mainly focused on registered formal organisations (CSOs). Yet, formal organisations constitute only one part of a larger civil society. Thus, our comparative focus includes both formal organisations and informal initiatives in Sweden and the UK, research that will help to capture how different types of CSO support labour market participation and how their modes of operation are shaped by national regulatory frameworks and local contexts.

EMPOWER: Empowering Cities of Migration: new methods for citizen involvement and socio-spatial integration (Joint Programme Initiative on Urban Migration, funded by FORMAS, the ESRC, and the German Research Council): This is a collaboration between universities, research institutes, local authorities, urban and housing planners and civil society organisations in Sweden (Gothenburg), England (Birmingham) and Germany (Bochum). The aim is to establish an International Community of Practice and a Theory of Change to more effectively engage and empower citizens in cities and neighbourhoods experiencing population change, socio-spatial segregation and housing challenges. We build on previous research and networks, a mixed methods design, to co-design new gender-aware approaches for housing and integration in urban areas. A key part is to upskill, train and work together with Community Researchers (in Swedish Medborgarforskare):

Why Do Working Class Voters Support the Populist Radical Right?" (funded by the Swedish Research Council, VR) led by Jens Rydgren, SU. The project "Why Do Working Class Voters Support the Populist Radical Right? A Mixed-Methods Study of a Changing Political Landscape in Sweden" explores the relationship between class politics and support for the populist radical right. The projects' overall aim of answering questions about why and how the Sweden Democrats has gained electoral support among the working class in Sweden. We address the theoretical puzzle of realignment processes in which working class voters has increasingly started to move from center-left to the populist radical right. This is an important societal change that has significant consequences for governance and policy making. Since populist radical right parties tend to side with center-right parties in parliament, working class voters’ increased support for the populist radical right have contributed to shifting policies toward the right.

Migration and Polarization: patterns, mechanisms and experiences or workpackage 3, lead by Gabriella Elgenius, of Fortes research programme on Challenges of Polarization on the Swedish Labour Market lead by Tomas Berglund, addresses the integration of migrants and minorities into the Swedish labour market by assessing distribution across the occupational structure.

Related research projects:

Diaspora, Civil Society and BREXIT: Polish civil society and migration in the UK. This project investigates processes of social solidarity and division within diaspora civil societies that keep them together but also divides them, taking the Polish civil society abroad as the case in point. The aim is to contribute towards explanations as to how and why diaspora civil societies develop the way they do. Previous projects include Gabriella Elgenius PI, funded by the British Academy, John Fell and Kerstin Jacobson, PI, funded by Swedish Research Council.

National Symbols and Nation-building: The symbolic regimes approach explores nation-building in stages, as layered and as strategic undertakings of nation-builders. Research includes a focus on the repatriation of cultural heritage, national museums and rival narratives in the Nordic countries. It has been funded by the European Commission, Marie Curie TMR, and the Centre for Concurrences: Colonial and Post-Colonial Studies LNU.


Associate Member Department of Sociology University of Oxford:

Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, London

Co-organizer Migration Ethnicity Research Gothenburg University (MERGU):

Member of Steering Committee and Core Faculty Centre for the Study on Nationalism, University of Copenhagen:

Previous affiliations include

Visiting Scholar, Institute of Advanced Studies, University College London:

Member of the Centre for Migration and Diaspora (SOAS, University of London),

Member of the Advisory Group for the Association of the Study of Ethnicity and Nationalism (ASEN) at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

Member of the Scientific Council of National Movements and Intermediary Structures in Europe (NISE),