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Research Groups

SUM's research activities are organised into research groups and research projects.

Illustrative photo Norwegian nature culture

We explore philosophical and ethical dimensions of the nexus nature, culture, and ideology. We are especially interested in the ways cultural and historical contexts spark social transformation and cultural innovation for a sustainable future. Last but not least, we study the impact of dominant nature representations on environmental and climate change.

Photo of trees and sunlight on a field

We carry out interdisciplinary research on perceptions of and attitudes to nature and the environment, and the way these are created and changed in various cultural, political and institutional contexts.

Photo by PhotoMIX Ltd. from Pexels

We study the politics, practice and culture of food.


This research group brings together anthropologists, historians and international relations scholars interested in the political dynamics and power structures that shape health policy and practice at global, national and local levels.

The group is supported by a Research Council of Norway grant (2020-2024) that aims to promote scientific development and renewal among research groups that received high marks in the Evaluation of the Social Sciences in Norway (SAMEVAL). The group is also supported the Institute of Health and Society's RELIGHT (Research Excellence and Innovation in Global Health) programme.

Image may contain: Flag, Banner, Architecture.

The importance of governance has been increasingly recognised in efforts to achieve poverty reduction and sustainable development. This research group focuses on the way power is exercised in policy processes and negotiations between states, multilateral organisations, private companies and other non-state actors.

The world faces a double challenge: to eradicate hunger and poverty and to stabilize the global climate before it is too late. Our focus is on undertaking critical, independent and high quality interdisciplinary and policy-related research on the challenges and dilemmas posed by poverty and sustainable development. We aim to better understand the persistence of poverty and vulnerability to hunger and famine in poor and middle-income countries.

In the 21st century, the rural is increasingly decoupled from the agrarian. This warrants critical rethinking of rural transformations.

Illustrative photo

We explore the social and political challenges associated with sustainable patterns of consumption and equitable solutions for energy provision and consumption.

Nordiske flagg

We do research on the politics of Norwegian and Nordic engagement abroad, especially on what is considered – and might in fact be – peculiar about it.