Gunilla Bjerén
Gunilla Bjerén

Telephone: +46 (0)73 394 1608
Room: B604

Professor, Gender Studies

My research life began in Ethiopia in 1965 when I was employed as a young social science student to do social investigations at the Institute of Building Technology in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia. From there I went on to do my final undergraduate paper on elementary school drop-outs in Makelle, Tigray, Ethiopia in 1967. From 1972 until 1986 (with lots of interruptions) I worked on a doctoral thesis in sociology on urban migration to Shashemene, Shoa Ethiopia. Since 2008 I am back in Ethiopian Studies with a follow up on the transformation and change of Shashemene between 1973 and 2008.

In the interludes – 1976-1996 – I was engaged in a series of research projects in the forest town of Torsby, Värmland, Sweden. The focus was on gender and social change. I also had the fortune to spend some months in 1994 in Libby, Montana, USA, another town in the global world of forestry and migration.

Research project Changing Ethiopia.

Research interests

Biography and history, migration, gender, stratification, life history studies, methodology – the interface between quantitative and qualitative studies, reflexivity, cultural resonance, African urban studies.

Geographic areas

Ethiopia, Swedish forest areas, Montana forest hinterland, Chile forest areas.

Academic degrees and appointments

  • Fil. kand Stockholm Universty 1969 (statistics, political science, sociology, social anthropology
  • MA area studies Africa, School of Oriental and African Studies 1970
  • Ph.D. Stockholm University, Sociology,1986
  • Assistant Professor, Stockholm University, Demography, 1986-1991
  • University lecturer, Stockholm University, Women’s Studies, 1991-2008
  • Associate Professor, Stockholm University, Social Anthropology, 1996
  • Professor, Stockholm University, Gender Studies, 2009



  • Lecture “The use of statistics in qualitative research”, PhD course Ethnographic Research Methods, November 12.
  • Thesis supervision, undergraduate students in Social Anthropology, spring term.


  • Thesis supervision, undergraduate students in Social Anthropology, spring and autumn term.
  • Workshop on the application of Computer Aided Qualitative Analysis: the use of NVivo, December.

Research networks

Conferences, workshops



  • Co-organiser of the conference “Oral history i Sverige, då och nu”, October 23-24. Presented “History and biography in Shashemene, Ethiopia. Oral history in a mixed context”, October 23.

Service to the profession


  • Member of the international organising committee for the international conferences in Ethiopian Studies.
  • Accountant, Sveriges Genusforskarförbund.


Editorial assignments


Lectures, seminars, teaching

2014 and 2015

Collaboration with the broader community


  • “Att förstå Etiopien”, lecture for Rotary Åkersberga, May 20.

Information about past activities can be found in the Department’s previous Annual Reports.