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Anna GustafssonPhD, Director of Studies undergraduate level

About me

Anna Gustafsson joined the Department of Social Anthropology as a researcher and lecturer in 2014. She holds a Bsc from the University of East London (2008) and a Phd from the University of St Andrews (2014). Since 2020, Anna is the Director of Studies for undergraduate level. She has extensive experiences of teaching and supervision at undergraduate and graduate levels at Stockholm University and the University of St Andrews. She is a research associate at the Centre for Cosmopolitan Studies at the University of St Andrews. Gustafsson has also done some shorter projects and evaluations for the Coordination Association, City of Stockholm, and the Stockholm Gerontology Research Centre.



Ageing (well) in rural Sweden - possibilities and challenges for impoverished older women

FORMAS funds Gustafsson's current 4-year research project (2022- 2025) that aims to explore the living conditions for poor women pensioners in rural Sweden. In Sweden the numbers of poor older women have recently increased, and the rates of poverty among people over the age of 65 are highest in rural areas. Apart from an increasing proportion of impoverished older persons, many of Sweden’s rural municipalities are characterised by rural depopulation, dismantling of local services and weak infrastructure. In light of this, the project aims to provide an in-depth ethnographic analysis of the possibilities and challenges of ageing well as a woman in rural Sweden.

By placing the lived everyday realities of impoverished older women at centre stage, the project brings together the concepts of ‘successful ageing’ and ‘social sustainability’. Moving away from the individual-centered perspective of how to age well -which so far has dominated research and policy-oriented discussions- it (1) develops critical understandings of the micro- and macro-factors that influence women’s ageing process and later life, and (2) inquire into how such perspective can enrich future discussions of ageing and how to organise socially sustainable, egalitarian and age-friendly rural communities.

The project relies on ethnographic fieldwork in rural Värmland and Västerbotten, and it involves close collaborative with impoverished older women, local stakeholders and pensioner’s organisations.


Working Towards “A Production of Well-being”: An Ethnography on Craftsmanship among the Lulesámi in Norway
Gustafsson’s doctoral research (2009- 2014) focuses on the political, social and economic significances of women’s unpaid domestic craft production in Northern Norway. More specifically, it explores the ‘understudied’ domestic realms of Lulesámi women and the ways in which women have responded to colonialism and how they currently fashion post-colonial indigenous identity, family relationships and personal virtues. It engages in theoretical dialogues about women and social change, learning, the interrelationships between the ‘public’ and ‘private’ and of female agency in terms of creative capacities.



Research projects