Stockholm University has obtained a large six-year grant from the Riksbankens Jubileumsfond (RJ), the Swedish Foundation for Humanities and Social Sciences, for the research programme “The Neighbourhood Revisited: Spatial polarization and social cohesion in contemporary Sweden”. The programme is coordinated by Bo Malmberg, Department of Human Geography.

Share of Swedish Democrat votes in the 2018 Swedish parliamentary election. Among nearest 7,200 voters. Map by Pontus Hennerdal, Department of Human Geography, Stockholm University.


“This program explores the extent to which spatial polarization produces a society that is increasingly polarized in attitudes, valuations, life styles and behaviour and, thus, less socially cohesive.

Our focus will be on neighbourhoods as locales for social interaction, socialization, identity formation, and for building social capital. If neighbourhoods, through a process of spatial sorting, come to consist of communities with very different social composition there is a risk that societywide common values and solidarity between groups cannot be established. Spatial polarization can produce neighbourhoods with concentrations of socially marginalized individuals that provide poor contexts for social integration. The research program uses a novel approach to social classification based on lifecourse patterns in education, income, employment, and family formation.

Three broad questions will be addressed:

  • To what extent do individuals that follow similar life course trajectories tend to cluster into similar neighbourhoods?
  • To what extent are individuals’ attitudes formed in and influenced by their neighbourhood residential context?
  • To what extent are the adult life courses of children and adolescents influenced by their exposure to different types of neighbourhoods during childhood?

Further, the program considers how neighbourhoods change their composition over time and how such dynamics influence people’s attitudes and well-being.”


In addition to Bo Malmberg, the following researchers from the Department of Human Geography, Stockholm University, will contribute: Marianne Abramsson, Eva Andersson, Ida Borg, Danielle Drozdzewski, Karen Haandrikman, Pontus Hennerdal, Louisa Vogiazides, Natasha Webster and Thomas Wimark. From the Department of Sociology, Stockholm University: Gunnar Andersson, Maria Brandén, Helen Eriksson, Hernan Mondani, Eleonora Mussino, Gerda Neyer, Caroline Uggla and Ben Wilson. From other institutions: Thomas Niedomysl, Department of Human Geography, Lund University, and Per Strömblad, Department of Political Science, Linnaeus University.