Centre for Local Government Studies - CKS

Picture of university buildings by Motala Ström at Campus Norrköping
CKS is located by Motala Ström at Campus Norrköping. Marie-Louise Elebring

CKS (Centre for Local Government Studies) is a research centre for studies on local politics, organization and development, at Linköping University, located at Campus Norrköping.

CKS was inaugurated in 1997 through an agreement between Linköping University and municipalities in the region. The objectives of CKS are research and outreach activities.

Members of the steering board for CKS represent the member municipalities of the research centre and Linköping University. CKS is managed by a head of centre Associate Professor Sara Gustafsson and director of research Professor Brita Hermelin.

CKS is a multi-disciplinary research centre – with researchers in business studies, human geography, political science, social work and sociology. Research at the centre targets three different research areas, listed below.

Running research projects at CKS involve numerous collaborations with researchers at other departments of Linköping University, at other universities in Sweden and with international research colleagues. Research projects entail academic research as well as through collaborations and outreach activities with politicians and professionals representing different organisations among which most are based in the public sector. More detailed information on running research projects and lists of publications is available on personal websites for individual researchers. 

Our research areas

Local politics and democracy

  • Political participation, especially experiments promoting participatory democracy.
  • The conditions under which councillors carry out their commissions, as well how political parties operate internally.
  • The significance of politics for municipal social services, e.g. how political ambitions and priorities, and management philosophies, influence these services. 
  • Rule of law, impartiality and public trust in local government, as well as questions concerning the quality of auditing and review of municipal operations.

Senior researchers: Gissur Ó. Erlingsson, Susanne Wallman Lundåsen, Johan Wänström, Richard Öhrvall, Andreas Bergh and Maria Brandén.


Local leadership, management and organization 

  • Challenges faced by leaders in municipal organizations. Conditions, roles, and forms for cooperation between political leaders and administrative management, in the municipal organization.
  • Questions about how municipalities manage and organize themselves to achieve a balance between quality of operations and fiscal responsibility, in the short and long term.
  • Matters of knowledge development, management, leadership, and organization needed in the social services sector to meet growing and changing requirements. 

Senior researchers: Robert Jonsson and David Ekholm.


Regional and local development and planning

  • Local planning for demographic change; in urban and rural areas
  • Integration of physical and strategic planning for local development and governance collaborations 
  • Local partnerships and initiatives, and social innovations for welfare, employment and entrepreneurship
  • Local planning, partnership and initiatives for sustainable development with ecological sustainability in focus.

Senior researchers: Brita Hermelin, Sara Gustafsson, Robert Jonsson, Bo Persson, Åsa Svenfelt and Ida Andersson.

Contact and management


News in English from CKS

International workshop