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Sofie Hellberg

Senior Lecturer

School of Global
Visiting address
Konstepidemins väg 2
41314 Göteborg
Room number
Postal address
Box 700
40530 Göteborg

About Sofie Hellberg

Sofie Hellberg holds a PhD in Peace and Development Research. She started her research education in 2007 and holds a Master degree in Political Science and a Bachelor degree in Human Ecology, both from Lund University. During her years as a PhD candidate she has been a visiting scholar at the School of Development at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa and a visiting research fellow at the School of Environment and Development at The University of Manchester, UK.

From 2016 Sofie is working in a post doc project on water infrastucture, social sustainability and the making of a post apartheid South African state. Sofie will be based at the School of Global Studies in Gothenburg and at the School of Geography, Archeology and Environemntal Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa.

In 2019 Sofie will, together with Beniamin Knutsson, start a three year resarch project on reduced car use in Gothenburg. The title of the project is: "Reducation of car use in Gothenburg: a prerequsite for combatning climate change, but how?" The project is funded by the Swedish Energy Authority.

Sofie will also, under the leadership of Beniamin Knutsson and together with Jonas Lindberg, work in a project on education for sustainable development with the title: Education for sustainable development in an unequal world: Populations, skills and lifestyles." The project is funded by the Swedish Research Council and will be conducted between 2019-2022.

Areas of interest Sofie’s areas of interest revolve around the politics of water, environmental and resource governance, (green) governmentality, security governance, biopolitics, power and agency, sustainable development, the nexuses between environment/development and security/development as well as research methodology.

Previous and current research The Ph.D Dissertation is on water and water service delivery in eThekwini Municipality, South Africa. The dissertation applies a biopolitics/governmentality perspective and its main focus is placed on how water and water access matter in terms of people’s lives. Based on narrative interviews with local water users on water and water management devices in eThekwini municipality it explores these questions in term of how water accessibility and water governance are part of constituting life and lifestyles and how power relations in water management shape subjectivities, interests and agency of the water users.

Sofie Hellberg has also been engaged in a methodology project, together with Maria Stern and Stina Hansson, which focuses on how we methodologically can approach the agency of being governed. It deals with questions such as how we can understand and apply the concepts of agency of freedom from governmentality and biopolitics perspectives and how we can do so in methodologically rigorous ways.

Sofie has also worked, togheter with Peter Johansson and Joakim Berndsson, in a the research project ‘Discourse and security practise’. The project is part of a larger multi-disciplinary research program on information Security (SECURIT), financed by the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB). The project is centred on how issues of human rights and democratic values (personal integrity, communication privacy, freedom of expression, freedom of information, etc.) are articulated in the debates around, and the construction of, information security systems. The project focuses on information security in health care, particularly in relation to e-health solutions.

In 2016 Sofie started a post doc project, financed by FORMAS, on social sustainability and water infrastucture and the making of the South African post apartheid state. The project focuses on the relationship beteween governance, material factors such as infrastructure, the availability of water, financial resources and hos social sustainability can be imagined and implemented. The project is expected to be finished at the end of 2018.

Teaching and tutoring

Sofie teaches and supervises in the bachelor program in Global Studies and in courses in Global Development Studies, International Relations, Human ecology, Human Rights, African Studies as well as on Global Gender Issues, on both on BA and Master levels. Sofie also supervises PhD students at Chalmers and the University of Gothenburg. Her teaching is mainly focused on power theories, governmentality and biopolitics, environmental- resource- and water governance, sustainalbe developemnt, the relationship between development and environment, environmental and resource governance in Africa and research methods.