Photo of Johan Nordensvärd

Johan Nordensvärd

Visiting Senior Lecturer, Docent

Johan Nordensvärd is Senior Lecturer at the Division of Political Science. Johan focuses on the intersection of environmental politics, international development and social policy, especially regarding sustainability, innovation and energy policy.

Can socially sustainable societies really be fair and environmentally friendly?

There is a need to examine the social dimension of politics and the administration's understanding of sustainability, which goes beyond a focus on better technology and economic reforms. We need a greater understanding of the social dimension of low carbon technology and development policy in both high-income and low-income countries. There is a great need to combine research on both social and technological innovation on the one hand and social and environmental justice on the other. The big question is whether we can change our market economy to become sustainable or whether society will need to make a radical transition to a more deeply ecological society.

The intersection of environmental policy, international development and social policy

My main interest is political issues related to low carbon development and sustainable development. I have a monograph published on the social challenges of sustainable development / low carbon development published on Routledge / Earthscan. I have also been involved in publishing 4 volumes of the Routledge Major Works Collection on low carbon development / sustainable development and been a co-author of the first textbook in Low Carbon Development. I have been a guest editor for two special editions of Sustainability and Energies which were published in 2018. I have published in journals such as Energy Policy, Energies, Sustainable Development, Energy for Sustainable Development, International Journal of Water Resources Development, Futures, Environment, Development and Sustainability and Asia and Pacific Policy Studies, Social Policy and Administration, Social Policy and Society and Journal of Educational Change. I have served on the board of the University of Southampton's Strategic Research Group (USRGs) Clean Carbon and I have been a member of the International Center for Ecohydraulics Research (ICER) for four years.

I have been involved in the ESRC research project 'China Goes Global: A comparative study of Chinese hydropower dams in Africa and Asia' and the Wolkswagen Stiftungs / Svenska Riksbanken Jubileumsfonden's research project 'Technological Trajectories for Climate Change Mitigation in China, India and the EU' with focus on research on sustainable development and technological innovation.

For more information about my research, please look at my page on Researchgate and Google Schools:

Sustainable Energy Transformations in Aviation (SETA)

I am now involved and run together with KTH a major research project (2020 - 2024) that aims to contribute to knowledge that will accelerate a sustainable energy transition in the Swedish aviation sector. We want to do this by exploring the socio-technical possibilities and obstacles that are related to such a change, where we focus on bio-based jet fuels and electric aircraft. The project is intended to be an interdisciplinary collaboration between three doctoral students and their supervisors at KTH and Linköping University


Nordensvard, J and Ketola, M., 2019. Rethinking the Consumer Metaphor versus the Citizen Metaphor: Frame Merging and Higher Education Reform in Sweden, Social Policy & Society, Vol. 18, Nr. 4, PP. 555-575

Ketola, M. and Nordensvard, J. (2018) Reviewing the relationship between social policy and the contemporary populist radical right: welfare chauvinism, welfare nation state and social citizenship, Journal of International and Comparative Social Policy, Vol. 34 Nr. 3, PP. 172-187

Ketola, M. and Nordensvard, J. (2018) Framing social policy and populism in a changing European context, Journal of International and Comparative Social Policy, Vol. 34, Nr. 3, PP. 169-171

Nordensvärd, J., Yuan, Z. and Xiao, Z., 2018. Innovation core, innovation semi-periphery and technology transfer: the case of wind energy patents, Energy Policy, Vol. 120, PP. 213-227

Urban, F and Nordensvärd, J., 2018. Low Carbon Energy Transitions in the Nordic Countries: Evidence from the Environmental Kuznets Curve, Energies, Vol.11, Nr. 9, 2209
Ketola, M. and Nordensvärd, J., 2018 Social policy and populism: welfare nationalism as the new narrative of social citizenship, Social policy review 30: Analysis and debate in social policy, 161

Poelina, A and Nordensvärd, J., 2018. Sustainable Luxury Tourism, Indigenous communities and governance in M.A. Gardetti and S.S. Muthu (editors) Handbook on Sustainable Luxury, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation, Springer, Singapore, PP. 147 – 166

Majid Cooke, F, Nordensvärd, J., Bin Saat, G, Siciliano, G and Urban, F., 2017. The Limits of Social Protection: The Case of Hydropower Dams and Indigenous Peoples' Land, Asia and the Pacific Policy Studies, Vol. 4, Nr. 3, PP. 437-450

Urban, F, Siciliano, G and Nordensvärd, J., 2017. China’s Dam Builders: their role in transboundary river management, International Journal of Water Resources Development, Vol.34, Nr 5, PP. 747-770

Nordensvärd, J, 2016. The Social Challenges of Low Carbon Development, Earthscan, Routledge, Oxford. Monograph.

Urban, F and Nordensvärd, J, 2016. Low Carbon Development: Key Texts Vol 1 – 4 Routledge Major Works Collection, Earthscan, Routledge, Oxford.

Nordensvärd, J and Urban, F, 2015. The stuttering energy transition in Germany: Wind energy policy and feed-in tariff lock-in, Energy Policy, Vol. 82, PP. 156-165

Urban, F., Zhou, Y., Nordensvärd, J., and Narain, A., 2015. Firm-level technology transfer and technology cooperation for wind energy between Europe, China and India: From North–South to South–North cooperation? Energy for Sustainable Development, Vol. 28, Nr. 10, PP. 29-40

Nordensvärd, J., Urban, F. and Mang, G. 2015. Social innovation and Chinese overseas hydropower dams: The nexus of national social policy and Corporate Social Responsibility, Sustainable Development, Vol. 23, Nr 4, PP. 245-256

Urban, F., Nordensvärd, J., Siciliano, G and Li, B., 2015. Chinese overseas hydropower dams and social sustainability: The Bui dam in Ghana and the Kamchay dam in Cambodia, Asia and the Pacific Policy Studies, Vol. 2, Nr. 3, PP. 573-589

Nordensvard, J and Ketola, M., 2014. Scandinavian populist parties and the welfare nation state: the national, ethnic and cultural reframing of the welfare state. Journal of Social Policy and Administration, Vol 49, Nr 3, PP 356-375

Nordensvard, J., 2014. Gender and education policy in Ghana: The impact of informal citizenship and labour market on formal education for girls, Women Studies International Forum, Vol. 47, PP. 278-286

Nordensvärd, J., 2014. Dystopia and Disutopia: Hope and Hopelessness in German youth’s future narratives. Journal of Educational Change, Journal of Educational Change, Vol. 15, P. 443–465

Nordensvärd, J., 2014 The Politics of Education: education from a political and citizenship discourse, Policy Futures in Education, Vol. 12 No. 3, PP. 340-346
Urban, F. and Nordensvärd, J., 2013. Low Carbon Development: Key Issues. Earthscan, Routledge, Oxford. Textbook. (See

Nordensvärd, J., 2013. The weak human and the saving grace of the welfare state: German pupils’ perception of future social change and drivers of change, Futures, Vol. 49, PP 22-34

Nordensvard, J., 2013. The mass-production of quality ‘human material’: economic metaphors and compulsory sterilisation in Sweden. Critical discourse studies, Vol. 10 Nr.2 PP. 172-186

Urban, F., Nordensvärd, J., Wang, Y., Khatri, D., 2012. An analysis of China’s investments in the hydropower sector in the Greater Mekong Sub-Region. Environment, Development and Sustainability, Vol.15 Nr. 2, PP. 301-324.

Urban, F., Nordensvärd, J. and Zhou, Y., 2012. Key actors and their motives for wind energy innovation in China. Innovation and Development, Vol. 2, Nr.1, PP. 111–130.

Nordensvärd, J., 2010. The Consumer Metaphor versus the Citizen Metaphor in Education Policy. In M. Molesworth, E. Nixon and R. Scullions (Eds.). The Marketisation of Higher Education: The Student as Consumer, Routledge.



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, Frauke Urban (2023) The role of energy and climate policy in mitigating global climate change Handbook on climate change and technology, p. 446-463
Frauke Urban, Johan Nordensvärd (2023) The role of bioenergy, biofuels and biogas in mitigating global climate change Handbook on climate change and technology, p. 103-115
Frauke Urban, Johan Nordensvärd (2023) The economics of climate change: a review Handbook on climate change and technology, p. 464-483
Frauke Urban, Johan Nordensvärd, Aneta Kulanovic (2023) Sustainable energy transitions in aviation Handbook on climate change and technology, p. 196-204