Maja Lagerqvist: "A natural problem? The politics of "Invasive Alien Species" in Sweden since the 2000s"

  • Datum: –15.00
  • Plats: Engelska parken 6-3025 (Rausingrummet)
  • Arrangör: Institutionen för idé- och lärdomshistoria
  • Kontaktperson: Julia Nordblad
  • Seminarium

Högre seminariet i idéhistoria

Forskningspresentation av Maja Lagerqvist, Senior lecturer Department of Human Geography, Uppsala Universitet. 


Today, societies grapple with environmental threats such as climate change and biodiversity loss. In this, what is referred to as “Invasive Alien Species” (IAS, often described as "plants and animals that are non-native to an ecosystem, and which may cause economic or environmental harm or adversely affect human health", a categorization that warrants much scrutiny) have received scientific engagement, sensation-driven media coverage, and governmental as well as non-governmental attention and action in the last decade or so. In Sweden, alarming reports have described how biodiversity, native flora and fauna but also properties and business are at risk as Japanese knotweed invades gardens, Garden Lupins threaten traditional landscapes and cherished flowers and Pacific Oysters conquer Swedish marine territory.

This presentation dives into the emergent phenomenon of IAS – a phenomenon produced by human activities like trade, traveling, and temporal and spatial boundary work. More specifically, the presentation explores the discussion on IAS in Sweden and in particular the political discussion and production of IAS as a problem. By analyzing parliamentary documents such as bills and reports as well as party websites and programs, this presentation follows the political discussion of this “problem” from 2007, when the issue made its entrance into the material, into the early 2020s.

The presentation will show, unsurprisingly perhaps, that certain political parties have been more engaged than others in highlighting "non-native" species as a problem. However, what maybe stands out most clearly is that – despite divergent political stances and engagement in environmental issues at large – the issue of IAS seems to be a common ground where most parliamentary parties more or less can stand together, at least in words. The fight against IAS is framed as a matter of common sense, where certain species naturally must be eradicated or controlled to protect other species deemed integral to Swedish nature and landscapes. The presentation will also add the example of the Garden lupin to highlight that when focusing on specific species, it becomes clear that the "problem" is less given and the line between what is deemed belonging and alien, wanted and unwanted, is not that easy to draw – and filled with tensions.

Seminariet kommer att hållas på engelska.