Photo of Carl-Johan Sommar

Carl-Johan Sommar


Sustainability and Agenda 2030 are crucial for continued societal development. My research concerns the social dimension of sustainability and its implications for the welfare society.

My research

A scholar in Political Science, Dr. Sommar’s research focuses on the ramifications of implementing public sector sustainability and digitalization initiatives.


  • Teaching students at bachelor, master and executive level.
  • Director of Studies at the Department of Political Science at LiU.
  • coordinating and managing various issues related to higher education.


Dr. Sommar specializes in how public administration can tackle and govern wicked problems. His research is motivated by a desire to translate theoretical tools into practical knowledge and is closely aligned with the needs of public sector professionals. He has written on topical issues such as sustainable healthcare systems, food poverty, and pandemic governance. Currently Sommar is editor of Linköping studies in Social Policy.

 Research groups that Dr. Sommar is part of

Legitimacy of soft policy tools - the case of Climate Change Declarations

Currently, Dr. Sommar is involved in a research project concerning the legitimacy of climate change declarations as a soft form of policy tool. The Swedish Parliament introduced climate declarations for buildings starting from January 1, 2022, applicable to new buildings for which building permits have been applied for after this date. These declarations complement existing energy declarations and certification systems in the market, aiming to enhance their legitimacy among stakeholders. Together with Dr. Fredrik von Malmborg, Dr. Patrik Rohdin, and Dr. Lina La Fleur, Sommar investigates the effectiveness of this new regulatory tool in comparison to other systems, aiming to provide insights beneficial for researchers, policymakers, and companies in their work with climate declarations for buildings.

Read more here.

Crisis Management in a Polycentric Nordic Local Democracy: Different Governance Structures - Different Results?

POLYGOV compares the local and regional coordination and management strategies employed as the pandemic has unfolded. The primary objective of POLYGOV is to identify differences in the Nordic countries’ handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and the outcomes thereof, comparing and analyzing these differences with legal arrangements, public governance, and organization.

Together with CO-PI Dr. Elin Wihlborg, Dr. Johan Nordensvärd, and MPhil Fredrik Garcia, Dr. Sommar oversees the Swedish part of POLYGOV. As a research team, they examine political and administrative leadership and citizens' experiences of management, as well as the legitimacy of crisis measures in the Swedish local public sector. Additionally, they shine an organizational lens on how Swedish local government handled the crisis.

Read more here.

Food for Urban Lives and Localities (FULL)

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed large cities worldwide to unprecedented challenges. It has also strained access to food among vulnerable urban groups such as older people, people with disabilities or underlying health conditions, single parents, low-income households, ethnic minorities, and migrants. Together scholars from with University College London, National University of Singapore, Stockholm University, The Swedish Royal Institute of Technology, and University of New South Wales, Dr. Sommar focuses on the role of digital technology and social adaptation in assuring food security and how community initiatives, and municipalities have responded towards rising food poverty. Here, we examine urban community responses to prepare global cities for issues that challenge local access to food.

Read more here.



Carl-Johan Sommar, Johan Nordensvärd, Elin Wihlborg, Fredrik Garcia (2024) Autonomy and paternalism - framing Swedish COVID-19 restriction policy Critical Policy Studies Continue to DOI


Johan Nordensvärd, Martina Rotolo, Carl-Johan Sommar, Yiran Li, Catalina Turcu, Bingqin Li, Young-hwan Byun, Jiwei Qian (2023) Technological and social adaptation to COVID-19: Food for Vulnerable Urban Groups in Six Global Cities
Johan Nordensvärd, Bingqin Li, Catalina Turcu, Jiwei Qian, Young-hwan Byun, Yiran Li, Carl-Johan Sommar, Martina Rotolo (2023) State and communities in urban food governance: lessons from COVID and insights for the future Urban Governance, Vol. 3, p. 93-96 Continue to DOI
Johan Nordensvärd, Carl-Johan Sommar, Catalina Turcu, Martina Rotolo, Bingqin Li, Yiran Li, Qian Jiwei, Youn-hwan Byun (2023) Policy Brief December 2022: Food for Urban Lives and Locality (FULL)
Carl-Johan Sommar (2023) Framing Wicked Problems: Case studies on sustainability in healthcare and during the pandemic

Research at Department of Management and Engineering (IEI) 

Volvo CE excavator

14 June 2024


The aim of the project is to promote the electrification of working machines. Neither the hydraulic systems nor the pumps are currently optimised for use with an electrical primary source of energy.

Volvo material rehandler

12 June 2024

Machine Learning for Energy Management in Construction Robots (MACRO)

This project develops a methodology to simplify the synthesis of controllers for energy management based on optimal control principles and machine learning.

09 June 2024

31st Nordic Sociological Association Conference

Welcome to the 31st Nordic Association Conference that will be held at the Institute for Analytical Sociology in Norrköping, Sweden, 14 - 16 August, 2024.

Research at Political Science (STATSV)

My workplaces