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Linn Axelsson

About me

I am a research fellow in the cluster Population geography, migration and GIS

My research focuses on the global circulation of people and products. I am particularly interested in how these flows are regulated by constellations of state and non-state actors. Most of my work has focused on developing an understanding of borders as time-spaces of authority that exclude and include through increasingly differentiated, nuanced and ambiguous means. I have explored this in diverse contexts including the textile trade in Ghana and labour migration to Sweden and the UK.

After completing my PhD at Stockholm University in 2012, I was a visiting research fellow at The Open University (2013-2016) and the University of Oxford (2017) before returning to the department to continue my research. 



I am currently teaching the following modules: 

Place, identity and migration, Human Geography II (KG2307)

Landscape and resources, Geography II (GE4001)

Master's thesis, Human Geography (KG9210), Urban and Regional Planning (KG9211), Globalization, Environment and Social Change (KG9209)

Bachelor's thesis, Human Geography (KG3201), Urban and Regional Planning (KG3217), Global Development



My research interests include political geography, critical border studies, migration governance, power, space and time, labour geography and precarious work. 



Agents of migration: A comparative study of migration intermediaries in three labour market sectors, with Charlotta Hedberg (Umeå University), Swedish Research Council, 2018-2020. Visit the project webpage

Integration or segregation? A study of mobility and diversity in Stockholm, with Maja Lagerqvist, Thomas Wimark and Bo Malmberg (PI). Stockholm County Council, 2017-2019. Visit the project webpage

Border topologies: Labour migration management through strategies of bordering. Swedish Research Council, 2014-2017. Visit the project webpage

Grapes of wrath? Global labour mobility in the wild berry industry affecting rural development in Sweden and Thailand, with Charlotta Hedberg (PI, Umeå University), Swedish Research Council Formas, 2016-2019. Visit the project webpage. 



Axelsson L (2022) Border timespaces: Understanding the regulation of international mobility and migration. Geografiska Annaler: Series B, Human Geography 104(1), 59-74.

Axelsson L, Hedberg C, Pettersson N and Q Zhang (2022) Re-visiting the ’black box’ of migration: State-intermediary co-production of regulatory spaces of labour migration. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 48(3), 594-612.

Axelsson L (2021) Wearing the Ghanaian border: Performing borders through the National Friday Wear programme. Space and Polity 25(1), 20-36.

Axelsson L and N Pettersson (2021) Spatial shifts in migration governance: Public-private alliances in Swedish immigration administration. Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space 39(7), 1529–1546.

van Riemsdijk M and L Axelsson (2021) Labour market integration of highly skilled refugees in Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands. International Migration 59(4): 3-12.

Vogiazides L, Bengtsson H and L Axelsson (2021) Geographies of occupational (mis)match: The case of highly educated refugees and family migrants in Sweden. Kulturgeografiskt seminarium 2021:1.

Zhang Q and L Axelsson (2021) Channelling through bureaucracy: How intermediaries and state actors (re)shape Chinese migration to the Swedish restaurant industry. Geoforum 123, 14-22.

Axelsson L (2020) Nyanländ och privilegierad? Högkvalificerade arbetskraftsmigranters lokala och internationella resande. Henriksson M och C Lindkvist (red.) Kollektiva resor: Utmaningar för socialt hållbar tillgänglighet. Lund: Arkiv förlag & tidskrift (87-105).

Tollefsen, A, Hedberg, C, Eriksson, M and L Axelsson (2020) Changing labour standards and 'subordinated inclusion': Thai migrant workers in the Swedish forest berry industry. Rye J F and K O´Reilly (eds.) International Labour Migration to Europe’s Rural Regions. London: Routledge (121-137).

Allen J and L Axelsson (2019) Border topologies: The time-spaces of labour migrant regulation. Political Geography 72, 116-123. Full text link:

Hedberg C, Axelsson L and M Abella (2019) Thai Wild Berry Pickers in Sweden: A Migration Corridor to a Low Wage Sector. Stockholm: The Migration Studies Delegation (DELMI).

Axelsson L (2018) Om väntan: IT-företags och dataspecialisters erfarenheter av svensk migrationspolitik och praktik. Povrzanović Frykman M och M Öhlander (red.) Högutbildade migranter i Sverige. Lund: Arkiv förlag & tidskrift (71-85).

Axelsson L and C Hedberg (2018) Emerging topologies of transnational employment: 'Posting' Thai workers in Sweden's wild berry industry beyond regulatory reach. Geoforum 89, 1-10. Full text link:

Axelsson L (2017) Living within temporally thick borders: IT professionals' experiences of Swedish immigration policy and practice. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 43(6), 974-990. Full text link:

Axelsson L, et al. (2017) On waiting, work-time and imagined futures: Theorising temporal precariousness among Chinese chefs in Sweden's restaurant industry. Geoforum 78, 169-178. Full text link:

Malmberg B, Wimark T, Turunen J och L Axelsson (2017) Chansen god att invandring ger ökad ekonomisk tillväxt. Ekonomisk Debatt 4, 88-92.

Malmberg B, Wimark T, Turunen J och L Axelsson (2016) Invandringens effekter på Sveriges ekonomiska utveckling. Stockholm: Delegationen for Migrationsstudier (DELMI).

Axelsson L (2013) Temporalizing the border. Dialogues in Human Geography 3, 324-326.

Axelsson L, Hedberg C, Malmberg B and Q Zhang (2013) Chinese Restaurant Workers in Sweden: Policies, Patterns and Social Consequences. Beijing: International Organization for Migration.

Axelsson L (2012) Making Borders: Engaging the Threat of Chinese Textiles in Ghana. Stockholm Studies in Human Geography 22. Stockholm: Acta Universitatis Stockholmiensis. Read a review of the thesis here

Axelsson L and N Sylvanus (2010) Navigating Chinese textile networks: Women traders in Accra and Lomé. Cheru F and C Obi (eds.) The Rise of China and India in Africa: Challenges, Opportunities and Critical Interventions. London: Zed Books.