Centre for Gender Research

The prospects for Swedish farming: agrarian change and household strategies

Farmers in northern Europe face many immediate challenges. Only in Sweden, a third of the farms have disappeared over the last 25 years. In the long term however, with a foreseen global food shortage, the high productive capacity of Nordic agriculture may become a key resource.

The aim of this study is to explore agrarian change and farm household strategies in Sweden in order to better understand the current transformations in farming as a basis for a future oriented analysis. How do farmers respond to various challenges? Who will be farming in the future?

We will return to a unique material of 260 interviews with farm households in three different study areas in Sweden, carried out in 1992, to track the changes they have gone through. We intend to revisit and interview a selection of these farm households and explore their perceptions and analyse key themes: a) the trajectories of agrarian change, b) the livelihoods and pluriactivity of the farm households, c) the negotiation of gender relations and d) uncertainties and risks - how farmers relate to the future.

The theme dealing with the negotiation of gender relations at farms will be delivered by Camilla Eriksson at the Centre for Gender Research. Within this theme the gendered division of labour at farms will be analysed, as well as what roles women and men are performing within the farms today and the ways gender is negotiated, narrated and performed. The findings will be compared with the findings on gender relations in the study carried out in 1992, which will provide a unique insight into how gender roles have changed.

The project is funded by Formas and will be carried out from 2016 to 2019. The project team consists of four people, whereof three are based at the Department of Urban and Rural Development, SLU: Erik Westholm (project leader), Cecilia Waldenström and Flora Hajdu..