Associate professor (docent) and International Career Grant fellow at the Department of Goverment, Uppsala University
Associate member of Nuffield College, Oxford University
Columnist in Dagens Nyheter
Also available at
Research Interests and Engagement in the Public Debate
My research agenda combines political theory and political psychology, often with a special focus on contemporary political issues arising from immigration, diversity, and the normative question of how to handle life in a pluralistic liberal society.
My work spans national identity, and the sources of political and social tolerance and intolerance, to the history of political ideas (especially the thought of Isaiah Berlin, John Stuart Mill, and the Early German Romantics), the phenomenon and consequences of individualism, trends in mass values, religious expression, recent European debates on the Muslim veil, the Danish Muhammad cartoons controversy of 2005, and normative justifications for freedom of speech and hate speech.
In parallell with my research, I teach courses in political theory and political sociology (including a module on political psychology), and supervise students who write their theses on these subjects.
I believe in the importance of scholarly engagement in the public debate. I have therefore popularized my research in numerous newspaper and magazine articles in Swedish, radio and TV interviews, and podcasts. I also write a monthly column for Dagens Nyheter: https://www.dn.se/av/gina-gustavsson/, and I have written in The Guardian, and in The Washington Post.
National Identity as a Source of Solidarity?
I am currently working on "Liberal Nationalism in the Welfare State: Bridging the Gap Between Political Theory and Political Psychology on National Identity and Economic Solidarity", a project funded by an International Career Grant of the Swedish Research Council (VR) and the European Union.
This project involves an extensive attempt to test and develop the theory of liberal nationalism , which holds that a national cohesion that is open and inclusive enough to be called liberal may provide solidarity in increasingly diverse societies. My approach to these pressing issues involves a combination of quantitative studies of survey data and normative political theory, in collaboration with David Miller in Nuffield College, Oxford. Together, we have published an edited volume with Oxford University Press (2019), Liberal Nationalism and Its Critics: Normative and Empirical Questions. In this book, we brought together theorists and political psychologists who study national identity, but whose results and analyses have hitherto remained unconnected.
My second project is called "Understanding the Pippi Longstocking Paradox and Statist Individualism: A Comparative Study of Swedish Individualism Using a Mixed-Methods Approach", and is funded by Forte, the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare. This project represents the first encompassing study of individualistic attitudes and their consequences for the welfare state in contemporary public opinion in Sweden, and is undertaken in collaboration with historian Lars Trägårdh at Ersta Sköndal University College.
Romantic and Enlightenment Liberalism
As the result of a three year post-doc scholarship (2012-2014) from the Sasakawa SYLFF foundation, I have recently also finished a research monograph: "The Romantic Strain in Enlightenment Liberalism: Contemporary Liberalism Caught Between Muslim Veils, Muhammad Cartoons, and Individuality".
This book offers the first systematic study of Enlightenment Liberalism, the black sheep in the liberal family, according to both political theorists and now, increasingly, also empirical researchers interested in immigration and ethnicity. Yet, the notion of Enlightenment Liberalism has hitherto escaped proper scrutiny. My main conclusion is that we have focused on the wrong culprit. Instead of worrying about Enlightenment Liberalism, my analysis suggests that we should fear its neglected baby brother: Romantic Liberalism, which places individuality rather than autonomous self-reflection at the heart of the liberal project. With its focus on being true to rather than transcending oneself, it is Romantic Liberalism, rather than its enlightened counterpart, that ends up supporting the new intolerance of religious minorities. This book traces this process both in theory and practice, in debates over the Muslim veil and Muhammad cartoons.
As part of this project, I have also collaborated with political psychologists on a project on the psychological roots of intolerance in Sweden and the Netherlands, based on new unique data, including novel attitudinal measures of Enlightenment and Romantic Liberalism.
Research Grants and Awards (selection)
International Career Grant from the Swedish Resarch Council/VR (6 252 000 SEK), for the project "Liberal Nationalism in the Welfare State: Bridging the Gap Between Political Theory and Political Psychology on National Identity and Economic Solidarity", to be undertaken in Oxford and Uppsala. Time period: 2015-2019.
COFAS 2, a Marie Curie post-doc co-funded by the European Research Council and the Swedish research agency Forte.
Junior scholar research grant, funded by the Swedish research agency Forte (3 330 000 SEK) for the project "Understanding the Pippi Longstocking Paradox and Statist Individualism: A Comparative Study of Swedish Individualism Using a Mixed-Methods Approach". Time period: 2015-2019.
2013: Teacher of the year, awarded by the Uppsala Political Science Students' Association
2012: Post-doctoral Nils-Eric Svensson travel grant to use for an academic visit to Nuffield College, Oxford, from Riksbankens Jubileumsfond (funded by the Swedish Central Bank Jubilee Fund)
2011: Three year post-doctoral fellowship from the Ryoichi Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship Fund (SYLFF), January 2012-January 2015
2010: STINT (visiting scholar grant from the Swedish Council for the Internationalization of Research), June 2010
2007: Best paper at the annual conference of SWEPSA (Swedish Political Science Association)
International Networks and Visiting Fellowships
March 2015 - until present, Associate Member of Nuffield College, Oxford University
January-April 2013, visiting researcher at Nuffield College, Oxford University, at the invitation of Professor David Miller
April-July 2010, visiting scholar at the Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Ethics and Morality, University of California, Irvine, under the supervision of Professor Kristen Monroe
July 2010, participant in the Stanford Summer Institute in Political Psychology (SIPP), directed by Professor Jon Krosnick
Professional Services (selection):
Organizer and host for the international workshop 'National Identity in an Angry Age', Department of Government, Uppsala University, February 3rd-5th 2020
Organizer of and host for the workshop 'Liberal Nationalism and its Critics: normative and empirical questions', Nuffield College, Oxford, June 20-21st 2017 (together with David Miller)
Main supervisor of two PhD students, and assistant supervisor of one PhD student
Reviewer for Oxford University Press, the American Political Science Review, Comparative Political Theory, Contemporary Political Theory, Ethnicities, Ethnic & Racial Studies, International Journal of Human Rights, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Journal of Political Ideologies, Nations & Nationalism, Politics & Religion, Political Studies, The European Political Science Review, The Review of Politics
Chair and organizer of the political theory sub-seminar series at the Department of Government, Uppsala University (from August 2013 – June 2015, and again from August 2018 - December 2018)
Chair and organizer of the political sociology sub-seminar series at the Department of Government, Uppsala University (from January 2012-January 2013)
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