Renita Thedvall
Renita Thedvall. Photo: Juliana Wiklund

Telephone: +46 (0)8 16 20 00


Renita Thedvall is Associate Professor in Social Anthropology. Her research is based in the field of policy and organizational anthropology, with special focus on the anthropology of bureaucracy. She has a particular interest in the way policies are shaped and presented in the form of models, indicators, and standards, and how these aspects are understood and performed. Her research projects have centred on employment policy, working life, and social issues. She has conducted field studies in the EU and Fairtrade International, and in municipal social service offices and preschools, where she has studied EU bureaucrats, standards setters, social workers’ and preschool teachers’ work developing, and struggling to understand, implement, and perform policies. As a part of her research, she also investigates meetings both as ethnographic objects and as sites of ethnographic inquiry. Together with Jen Sandler, she has explored this topic through an edited volume, Meeting Ethnography. Meetings as Key Technologies of Contemporary Governance, Development and Resistance (2017, Routledge).

Selected publications


  • Thedvall, Renita. Fast Childcare in Public Preschools. The Utopia of Efficiency. London: Routledge.












Renita Thedvall List of Publications (145 Kb)

Research funding/grants


  • Riksbankens Jubileumsfond's research initiation grant for a workshop and starting a network regarding Meeting Ethnography. The workshop will take place at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst during the autumn of 2015 in co-operation with Jen Sandler. (The grant is placed at Score).

Research networks

  • Meeting Ethnography Network. Co-ordinated by Jen Sandler University of Massachusetts, Amherst and Renita Thedvall, Stockholm University.
  • Ethnographic Research into Public Sector Reforms: an interdisciplinary research network across Denmark, the UK, and Sweden. Co-ordinator: Bagga Bjerge, Associate Professor, Centre for Alcohol and Drug Research, Aarhus University, Denmark.

Conferences, workshops


  • Hoping for Improvement. The Lean Model in the Swedish Public Sector, paper presented at the Reform as permanent condition. Ethnographic studies of administrative changes and reforms publication seminar organized by Bagga Bjerge, Centre for Alcohol and Drug Research, Aarhus University and Nina Holm Vohnsen, Department of Anthropology, Aarhus University, 7-8 December, Aarhus, Denmark.
  • Writing Action. How to Fit Alterations into Action Plan Documents, paper presented at the panel Documenting Power in an Age of Accountability organized by Kathleen Inglis, Simon Fraser University at the AAA (American Anthropological Association) conference, 18-23 November, Denver, USA.
  • Meeting to Improve: Lean[ing] Swedish Public Preschools, paper presented at the Meeting Ethnography workshop organized by Jen Sandler, University of Massachusetts Amherst and Renita Thedvall, Stockholm University 8-10 October 2015, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA.


Membership on boards

Service to the profession

Lectures, seminars, teaching


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