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University of Gothenburg
Cranes in the port of Gothenburg.

NESS - Nordic Environmental Social Science Conference: Emergency and transformation

If global environmental changes, including climate change, have taken decades to build up to an emergency, last year saw the almost instantaneous spread of a fatal virus that in a matter of weeks pushed global society into a humanitarian crisis, and soon also into a deep economic crisis. The 15th Nordic Environmental Social Science Conference, hosted by the School of Global Studies, will be a chance for environmental social scholars to meet and discuss where the crises have brought us.

Dates and venues

7-9 June, 2022, at the School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg.
Map to conference venues will be published on the website closer to the event.

Upcoming deadlines:

  • Submitting workshops: 1 October, 2021.
  • Abstracts for workshop papers: 15 January, 2022. Abstract should be submitted directly to individual workshops (See instructions below).
  • Notification of acceptance: 1 March, 2022.
  • Last day to register for the conference and submission of full paper: 20 May, 2022.
  • Conference in Gothenburg, 7-9 June, 2022.
  • What will be the cost of the conference?
    Due to the covid-19 pandemic, there has been several delays in application of funding. However, we believe the cost of the conference will be in line with general conference fees.
  • What will be the duration of each daily session?
    Most of the time of the conference is devoted to the workshops and we estimate there to be room for 12-15 presenters in each workshop over the three days. There will be some common conference activities, likely two keynotes and a panel but the rest of the time is for workshop activities. 
  • Can additional audience members be present during the workshop proceedings (i.e. session participants who are not paper authors)?
    Yes, it is possible to attend the workshop without giving a paper, but this will be limited in number (partly due to room size). Normally those who attend a workshop without a paper is asked to be a commentator and/or chair a session.
  • Is it possible to submit the same abstract to multiple sessions?
    Yes, you can submit to more than one session (if this is the case, please declare to chairs), but you can only attend one workshop.

For questions about specific workshops, please contact the workshop chairs. Questions of a more general character should be directed at:



For questions about specific workshops, please contact the workshop chairs (contact details are found in the Call for Papers further down on this page).

NESS Conference 2022

7-9 June 2022 at the School of Global Studies, Gothenburg, Sweden.

When it rains it pours. If global environmental changes, including climate change, have taken decades to build up to an emergency, last year saw the almost instantaneous spread of a fatal virus that in a matter of weeks pushed global society into a humanitarian crisis, and soon also into a deep economic crisis. The Covid-19 emergency will most definitely be a watershed in modern history, but where the rain will flow is too early to tell.

The 15th Nordic Environmental Social Science Conference (NESS), will be a chance for environmental social scholars to meet and discuss where the crises have brought us.

  • What are the urgent contributions of environmental social science to these emergencies?
  • Is the crisis an opportunity for accelerating since long necessary green transformations or a moment for patience, where resources should be directed toward the most urgent needs?
  • Either or – what are the lessons learned by the Covid-19 crisis for a green transformation? Is the ‘strong society’ now back on the arena after decades of liberalizations, marketizations, and ‘just in time’?
  • What are, then, the implications for democracy, governance, economic policies, and public discourses?

While the interconnectedness of emergency and transformation will gain special attention during the conference, we welcome contributions in areas related, but not restricted, to climate change, biodiversity, food, water, energy, natural resource extraction, bio-economy, rural and urban sustainability, and conservation. The conference workshops will cover various aspects of environmental social science, from the local to the global, from empirical papers over policy-relevant papers to conceptual and theoretical contributions. As is the tradition of NESS, the workshops are at the center of the conference, with plenty of time devoted to presentation and discussion of submitted papers.

Conference structure 

The NESS conference consists of on the one hand common events, such as keynote speeches, joint panels, and social activities, and on the other, several workshops. The workshops – where junior and senior scholars meet and discuss common themes – are the central activity of this conference. The workshops follow a standing session format (similar to ECPR), which allows for substantive discussions on research in progress. The topics for discussion are defined by the individual workshop themes, and scholars currently working on the themes will be invited to participate.

The overall objective of the workshops is to facilitate and encourage participation and collaboration across social sciences, between younger and more established scholars and across countries. In order to achieve this, the size of each workshop is limited so that adequate time is allowed for each contribution. Each participant is expected to be carrying out research relating to the theme of the workshop, able to submit and present a paper (or work in progress) for the discussion or participate as a discussant. The ambition with this format is that the workshops allow for in-depth and coherent discussions of the respective themes and provide opportunities for potential joint publications or other continuing collaborations between the participants.

NESS Workshops

Select the workshop that interest you and submit your abstract of up to 300 words to all the workshop chairs no later than December 15, 2021. Read about the workshop format in the specific workshop call. Chairs will respond to questions which relate to the workshop theme. For questions of a general nature (i.e. not workshop specific) they should be directed to 

Soils as sites of emergency and transformation (PDF)
Workshop chairs:
Anna Krzywoszynska, The University of Sheffield
Daniel Münster, Oslo University
Janna Holmstedt, KTH Royal Institute of Technology/Linköping University
Can democratic innovations support environmental governance? Theoretical and empirical evidence of challenges and opportunities (PDF)
Workshop chairs:
Tim M. Daw, Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University
Naghmeh Nasirtousi, Department of Political Science, Stockholm University
Lars Tønder, Department of Political Science, University of Copenhagen
Katariina Kulha, Researcher in the FACTOR project at University of Turku
Transformative Change for a Green Industry: Nordic Experiences and Challenges (PDF)
Workshop chairs:
Patrik Söderholm, Luleå University of Technology
Hans Hellsmark, Chalmers University of Technology
Just Transition and the Role of the State (PDF)
Workshop chairs:
Roger Hildingsson, Department of Political Science, Lund University
Eva Lövbrand, Department of Thematic Studies: Environmental Change, Linköping University
The climate and biodiversity crises are bound together: how could integrated solutions in politics and management be stimulated? (PDF)
Workshop Chairs:
Eivind Brendehaug, Kyrre Groven and Torbjørn Selseng, Western Norway Research Institute,
Sirkku Juhola, Helsinki University
Erik Stange, Norwegian Institute for Nature Research
Ecosystem based Transformative Ocean Governance: Nordic Experiences and Challenges (PDF)
Workshop Chairs:
Lena Gipperth University of Gothenburg
Henrik Ringbom, Åbo Akademi University
Governing a sustainable transformation – The role of knowledge, expertise and the reflexivity of public institutions (PDF)
Workshop Chairs:
Monika Berg, Environmental sociology section, Örebro University, Sweden
Karin Gustafsson, Environmental sociology section, Örebro University, Sweden
Johan Munck af Rosenschöld, Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE), Finland
Urban regeneration in partnership with nature: local challenges and solutions (PDF)
Workshop chairs:
Thomas. B. Randrup, SLU Alnarp
Catalina Turcu, Bartlett School of Planning, University College London, UK
Marie Thynell, School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg
Ylva Norén Bretzer, School of Public Administration, University of Gothenburg
The crisis of inequality: Politics, power and interests in the “development” of forest-agriculture frontiers (PDF)
Workshop chairs:
Grace Wong, Stockholm Resilience Centre
Maria Brockhaus, University of Helsinki
Thilde Bech Bruun, University of Copenhagen
Andrea Downing, Stockholm Resilience Centre
Fair Transformations Achieving Carbon Budgets (PDF)
Workshop chairs:
Mikael Karlsson, Department of Earth Sciences, Natural Resources and Sustainable
Development, Uppsala University
Eva Alfredsson,Division of Sustainable Development, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm
Charlotte Louise Jensen, Department of Planning, AAlborg University, Denmark
Psychological and behavioral effects of emergencies: implications for sustainability (PDF)
Workshop chairs:
Magnus Bergqvist - Department of Psychology, University of Gothenburg, Sweden
Mattias Holmgren, Department of Building Engineering, Energy Systems and Sustainability,
Science, University of Gävle, Sweden
What can science deliver and what does policy want? Sciencepolicy interactions and climate action (PDF)
Workshop chairs:
Linda Soneryd, Sociology/STS University of Gothenburg, Sweden
Göran Sundqvist, Sociology/STS University of Gothenburg, Sweden
Erlend Hermansen, CICERO, Centre for International Climate Research, Norway
Imagining transformation: Urgency, emergency and hope in a time of multiple crises (PDF)
Workshop chairs:
Alexandra Nikoleris, Environmental and Energy Systems Studies, Lund University
Josefin Wangel, Dept. of Urban and Rural Development, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU)
Lisette van Beek, Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development and the Urban Futures Studio, Utrecht University
Green Innovation Policy – exploring the Green Deal Foundations (PDF)
Workshop chairs:
Mikael Skou Andersen,Aarhus University, Denmark
Rauno Sairinen, University of Eastern Finland
Exploring grassroots initiatives for transitions (PDF)
Workshop chairs:
Karin Bradley, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Department of Urban Planning
and Environment
Erica Löfström, NTNU Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim,
Department of Psychology
Sofie Tornhill, Linneaus University, Department of Social Studies
Environmental policy attitudes in an era of crises (PDF)
Workshop chairs:
Niklas Harring, Centre for Collective Action Research (CeCAR), Department of Political Science, University of Gothenburg
Steffen Kallbekken, Center for International Climate Research (CICERO), Oslo, Norway
Social science contributions to the biodiversity agenda (PDF)
Marie Stenseke, Human Geography, School of Business, Law and Economics, Gothenburg
Elizabeth Barron, Geography, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway
Håkon B. Stokland, Science and Technology Studies, Norwegian institute for nature research (NINA), Norway
Governing Low Carbon Sustainable Urban Transformation (PDF)
Workshop chairs:
Olga Stepanova, School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg, Sweden
Maria Figueroa, Department for Management Society and Communication, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark
Transnational Governance Initiatives at the Climate-Biodiversity Frontier (PDF)
Workshop Chairs:
Michele Betsill, Department of Political Science, University of Copenhagen
Harriet Bulkeley, Department of Geography, University of Durham, and Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Developmen, Utrecht University
Stacy VanDeveer, Department of Conflict Resolution, Human Security, and Global Governance, University of Masschusetts, Boston

The organizer

The host, the School of Global Studies, is an interdisciplinary department consisting of several social sciences, including peace and development research, human ecology, and social anthropology. The organizing committee is further broadened to include environmental social scientists from several departments at the University of Gothenburg and Chalmers University of Technology. Together, we welcome Nordic and international researchers to NESS 2022 to stress the important role of environmental social science in times of emergency and transformation.