Associate professor

+46 73 460 4926



Profile summary

  • Sociology
  • Smallholders
  • Stewardship
  • Social-ecological traps
  • Qualitative methodology
  • Power
  • Rural development

Wijnand Boonstra's research investigates the social-historical dynamics of primary resources, and how it impacts the long-term biocultural sustainability of sea- and landscapes

The thematic focus of Boonstra’s research at SRC can be summarized broadly as the social dynamics and relations that shape the primary use of natural resources. His case studies - located in The Netherlands, Malawi, Australia, Vietnam, and Sweden - include investigations of how farmers and fishers impact and depend upon terrestrial and marine ecologies. He is particularly interested in understanding (mis)matches between the values, interests of farmers and fishers and the social and ecological opportunities to realize their preferred farming and fishing styles. He strives to construct case studies through a mixed-method design that includes qualitative and quantitative methods.

At SRC he also works to develop social scientific theory and method for the study of natural resource use, to contribute to the development of sustainability science in research and education. He supervises students at both MSc and PhD levels, and teaches courses at both levels. Furthermore, he also acts as an associate editor for the journal Ambio: A journal of the Human Environment, which is published by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and Springer.

From an early age Boonstra has been fascinated by the diverse ways in which humans work with and dependent on nature. This fascination led him to scientifically study rural life as a MSc student (1995-2000) in Rural Development Studies, and as a PhD student (2001-2006) in Rural Sociology at Wageningen University, the Netherlands. He also worked at the Swedish University for Agricultural Sciences (2006-2010), the department of Earth Sciences at Uppsala University (2015-2018), and spent 10 months as visiting professor at the Department of Ecology and Natural Resources and Human Ecology at Rutgers University, New Jersey, USA (2016-2017).

Results of his research have been published in several international, peer-reviewed journals. He has also written book chapters and several popular scientific essays in the form of blogs.

Emma Björkvik, PhD candidate
Niak Koh, PhD candidate
Jennifer Hinton, PhD candidate

Publications by Boonstra, Wijnand