Mariana S Gustafsson

Mariana S Gustafsson

Research Fellow

A highly digitalized society places new demands on our democracy and requires new forms of governance in the public sector. Practical and theoretical knowledge of these is an important key to understanding the digital society we live in today.

A better public administration based on knowledge of digitalization

To continue governing and managing an increasingly digitalized society in an effective, legally secure and legitimate way is a challenge today. We need deeper understanding of the phenomenon and practical knowledge about how local and regional authorities think and work to face these challenges, where they look for opportunities and how they work to materialize them in order to meet the high demands that come from the knowledge intensive and digitalized society.

Public administration in digital society

My research interest is to understand what happens with public administration and governance in the digital society. I want to understand how the technological society in democracy evolves by studying the effects of digitalization in the public sector. I want to understand whether and how public administration transforms when public servants and citizens use complex technical information and tools to access, manage and implement public services. I am also interested in how 'technology' is conceptualized in political science research on digital society and how the concept is used to analyze the progress of reform in public administration.

What it means to be the best in the world on IT?

"Sweden is to be the best in the world at employing digitalization opportunities", is a key goal for the IT policy over the past years. But the way from realizing the possibilities and using these to improve or create a new development is a difficult, resource and knowledge intensive process. Often involving failures, challenges and dilemmas. Do politicians, municipal and regional officials see any opportunities or challenges of digitization in the public sector? What are the opportunities and challenges in this case? And how they work with it to create a development in the public sector? How do the existing institutions of governance change in the digital society? These are some of the issues that drive my research.

Policies and practices in Region Östergötland

In project FUSE (Future Safe electronic identification), together with information systems researchers we investigated Swedish e-ID development, implementation and use in the public sector. Specifically, we have studied how eIDs were implemented during 2011-2014 in learning and management platforms in a number of schools, as well as professional e-card use in healthcare in the county of Östergötland.

In another study, I follow digitalization practices and policies in public administration with a focus on the Region of Östergötland. From 2014, I follow the Working Group for Regional Digital Agenda and interview municipal and regional civil servants and politicians, as well as regional trade and industry stakeholders on the opportunities, challenges and dilemmas in their work with digitalization of services.

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  • 2018- Postdoc in Political Science, Linköping Univeristy
  • 2013- 2017 PhD in Political Science, Linköping University
  • 2012-2013 Expert in project FUSe, Linköping University
  • 2009-2012 Analyst, Oxford Research, Kirstiansand, Norway
  • 2007-2009 Research Assistant, Lärande Lund, Lund University
  • 2003-2006 Research Assistant, Pedagogiska institutionen, Lund University


  • 2017 PhD in Political Science, focuss on e-Government, Linköping University
  •  2002 - PolMag, Master of European Affairs, Lund University
  • 2001- MA, Political Science, Central European University, Budapest

I currently teach

  • Political Science Methods
  • Comparative Perspectives on Political Systems
  • Supervision of essay-writing 


  • Political theory
  • Institutional theory and analysis

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