Professor in global development studies / environmental science.
Ph.D. (2004) and Associate Professor/Docent (2009) in Latin American studies / Area and Culture studies, Department of World Cultures, University of Helsinki.
My teaching and research activities are characterized by interdisciplinarity, with influences from development studies, cultural, legal and environmental sociology, political science, gender studies, social ecology and area studies. Since some decades I have specialized on the political, social, cultural and economic development in Latin America, particularly in Bolivia, Ecuador and Venezuela. I am particularly interested in analytical issues of the politics of identity and resistance and throughout the years I have published a number of studies focusing on social movements and distinct identitarian complexities in specific socio-political settings (from the angles of class, ethnicity, gender, religion and ecologism).
At the University of Helsinki I have taught and supervised within the programmes of development studies, political science, Latin American studies and Area and Culture studies. At Mid Sweden University I previously taught sociology, mainly methods and theory. Moreover, I was earlier associated researcher at the Institute of Latin American Studies, Stockholm University, and also collaborate with a number of academic institutions in Latin America.
Ongoing and recent research projects
Indigenous Community-Based Eco-Tourism and Socio-Environmental Justice in the Global South: comparing “from below” experiences in Brazil, Ecuador and Mozambique
Project leader: Rickard Lalander
Project researchers: Juliana Porsani and Kari Lehtilä
Funded by FORMAS (The Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning) for the period 2019-22.
Realities of gold: Socio-environmental (in)justice, Indigenous resistance and rights-based alternatives in the Ecuadorian Amazon
Project coordinators: Rickard Lalander and María Beatriz Eguiguren Riofrío, Universidad Técnica Particular de Loja, Ecuador.
Funded by STINT (The Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education) during 2019.
Rights of Nature - Nature of Rights. Neo-Constitutionalism and Ethno-Ecologist Resistance in Bolivia and Ecuador
Between 2013 and 2016, my principal research project dealt with the rights of nature and the Indigenous peoples in the context of welfare politics and extractive industries in new constitutional settings. In both countries, the indigenous principles of Sumak Kawsay/Suma Qamaña (vivir bien/buen vivir, right livelihood) have been constitutionally established as well as the right to prior consultation of affected peoples (and implicitly to free, prior and informed consent). The project thus analyzes the constitutional tensions and contradictions between ethno-environmental concerns and economic developmentalist politics.
The first publications of the project examined the welfare-development-extractivism dilemmas of Bolivia and Ecuador in a moral philosophical framing regarding the rights of nature/the environment and human beings.
The project was supported by FORMAS (The Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning) for the period 2013-2016. The project is still ongoing, with several forthcoming publications.
From Exclusion to Government in Ecuador: Indigenous Movement Strategies and Political Power Structures in Otavalo and Cotacachi
Funded by Sida-SAREC, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, for the period 2007-2010. Formally finished, but several publications in progress.
Most of my publications can be downloaded at: