Associate professor at the Department of Social and Economic Geography, Uppsala University (also affiliated to CIND). Resarch: economic geography focusing on agglomerations, local-global linkages, knowledge flows, creativity, quality, entrepreneurship and branding in different (cultural) industries, local milieus, urban and regional development. Teaching: planning, administrating and teaching at various courses and levels. Other: talks and presentations at conferences, events and other contexts.
Keywords: qualitative methods consumption innovation digitalization embeddedness knowledge flows cultural and creative industries production intermediation urban and rural planning regional development proximity distance
Johan Jansson is an associate professor (universitetslektor/docent) at the Department of Social and Economic Geography at Uppsala University.
His research interests in general are within the field of economic geography with a theoretical focus on the spatial organization of economic activities using concepts such as agglomerations, local-global linkages, knowledge and knowledge flows, creative (urban) milieus and socially and spatially embedded processes of values e.g. quality, (place) branding, curation and entrepreneurship. Empirically his focus is on for example different cultural industries (e.g. design, music, arts), the internet industry, local milieus, urban and regional development. Primarily he uses qualitative methods such as interviews, observations, secondary material and qualitative data analysis.
Johan is involved in planning, administrating and teaching at various courses at the Department of Social and Economic Geography (undergraduate, master and PhD level) and the Masters Program in Socio-Technical Systems Engineering as well as supervising students at undergraduate and PhD levels.
Johan has experience in coordinating research projects and is currently project leader of “Intermediation, place and value creation: Exploring the processes and spaces of ‘curation’”, a RJ funded research project.
Additionally, Johan does talks and presentations at conferences, events and other contexts.
- ”Managing the digital transformation of physical space” (funded by Vinnova 2019- ). In collaboration with three organizations at various stages of digital transformation - The Church of Sweden (Svenska kyrkan), Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken (SEB) and Uppsala City Theatre (Uppsala Stadsteater) - the project seeks to understand the inherent values of the physical and the digital, by considering the physical and digital as building blocks that shape interactions between human actors and their spatial conditions. The aim of the project is to provide a more elaborate understanding of factors that condition successful organizational interaction at the intersection of digital and physical space. Such knowledge would provide normative guidance for managers in their efforts to effectively lead an organization towards successful organizational interactions with their customers, members and visitors. The project is headed by the Department of Informatics and Media, and brings together researchers from different disciplines: Darek Haftor and Claes Thoren from Information Systems, Ylva Ekström and Therese Monstad from Media and Communication Studies, and Johan Jansson from the Department of Social and Economic Geography.
- “Intermediation, place and value creation: Exploring the processes and spaces of ‘curation’” (funded by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond 2015- ). By linking producers and consumers, intermediaries such as brokers and gatekeeper have always been important market actors. Yet, the processes and spatial dynamics of intermediation are evolving in the face of globalization and digitalization. In saturated markets where consumers are overwhelmed by product information and choice, a growing range of specialized intermediaries called curators help to evaluate subjective product qualities and ascribe value to specific products. Curation is vital to contemporary markets but its specific mechanisms, actors and spaces remain poorly understood. This project will nuance our understanding through rigorous empirical analysis of 3 Swedish industries: art, music and hi-fi equipment. It will address four interrelated questions: What is curation and what forms does it take? What actors perform curation? Where does curation occur and what is the relationship between space and curation? How are value(s) created and communicated through curation? The research will include a statistical analysis and in-depth interviews with intermediaries and key informants in each of these industries. Ethnographic and ‘netnographic’ observations of key spaces of curation including retail shops, art galleries, consumer fairs, blogs and online forums will be conducted. The project will contribute to a growing area of cutting-edge theory that emphasizes the complex socio-economic geographies of how value is created in the globalized economy.
- ”Culture, creativity and economy” (funded by Vetenskapsrådet 2014- ). This program will study the conditions for creativity and development in Sweden’s cultural and creative industries: their geography, creativity, and journey to market. The program aims to support a group of researchers with an internationally competitive track record of research in the field of cultural economy in general and the geographic conditions for cultural industries in particular. It aims to provide an already strong research group the freedom in time, resources and choice of research area to develop our long-term ambition to create Europe’s leading milieu for the study of the cultural industries at Uppsala University. Our aim is to contribute to a better understanding of the conditions for the functioning, creativity and sustainability of cultural and creative industries. These activities once thought of as little more than pleasant distractions or ephemeral aspects of a nation’s social life have grown to be important and dynamic industries: whose business conditions and work processes demand serious and critical research. While taking our point of departure in the creative and innovative performance of workers and firms, we also pay attention to the role of individuals as well as the geographies, districts and milieus where creative individuals and firms seem to thrive. The research project is funded by Vetenskapsrådet (Swedish Research Council) – ‘Rambidrag för kulturforskning.
Past projects (selected)
- "Quality, competitiveness and regions". How can we explain the continued success of European craftsmanship against ever increased competition from high-tech but low cost countries? In this this project we explore the regional competition from the perspective that 'quality' is a central factor in firms' capacity to create and maintain international competitivness and in regions advantage and prosperity. The program examines the idea that by making and providing quality goods and services - that may be based on the latest technology or equally on age-old craft traditions - firms in high-cost regions may find a sustainable way of competing. The programme will be comprised of three distinct but related research areas: 1) Exploring how clusters of firms embedded in particular places influence the construction of quality 2) Examining how geographically embedded consumer groups, consumption networks and different markets influence the construction of quality 3) Studying the importance of local, national and global intermediaries in the construction of quality. Four different case studies will be made: traditional craftmanship in transition (wooden ships, glassblowing and stone masonry), online data on quality indicators, high quality audio/hi-fi electronics, and art market intermediaries. The research project was funded by Handelsbanken and the Jan Wallanders and Tom Hedelius Stiftelse Tore Browaldhs Stiftelse.
- "Competitiveness through quality”. This project involves participants from three Nordic countries and universities. The overall aim of this research project is to investigate and conceptualize what ‘quality’ means for the industrial competitiveness of firms in high-cost countries. More specifically the aim of this project is to describe and analyze sectors where constructions of quality contribute to creating and sustaining international competitiveness. In our understanding quality is likely to have very specific spatial anchoring: i.e. that quality, just like innovation, depends upon spatial networks of industrial actors (organized in industrial systems or clusters) and spatially specific consumer groups subject to local cultures and systems of understandings. A second aim of the project is to improve and contribute to the existing body of theoretical knowledge in economic geography and related sub-disciplines (e.g. economic sociology, institutional economics) by adding detailed studies of several industries from a different perspective to the stress on scientific research and technological innovation which is currently the orthodox/mainstream approach. The research project is financed by The Joint Committee for Nordic Research Councils for the Humanities and the Social Sciences (NOS-HS) and the funding of Nordic Collaborative Research Projects (NORDCORP).
- “Creativity and Innovation in the Cultural Industries”. A research programme funded by Wallander/Hedelius Fund at Handelsbanken. In recent years there has been a growing awareness that music, film, media, video games and design are important areas of economic activity. These cultural or creative industries have grown to be important and dynamic industries, competitive exporters, and thriving employers. The overall aim of this research programme is to contribute to a better understanding of the industrial functioning, innovation system and competitiveness of the cultural industries. The programme adopts an economic approach, taking its point of departure in research on industrial competitiveness and transformation in general and modern research in economic geography in particular.
- ”The Image of the City - Urban Branding as Constructed Capabilities in Nordic City Regions”. The project involved participants from seven Nordic universities and research institutes and the topics treated in this project has to do with the study of phenomenon related to the city as a brand. In this project I was involved in producing the final report of the research project and writing an academic article, and participate in. 2005-06.
- “Creative Directions - a framework for supporting the creative industries”. This Nordic research project was funded by the Nordic Innovation Center. My work consisted in organizing meetings and conferences for the international members of the project, participate in the research and involvement in the writing of the final report of the research project. The project involved participants from eight Nordic universities, ministries and research institutes. 2005.
- “The Future in Design”. The work (funded by the Nordic Industrial Fund) consisted of research into the competitiveness and business dynamics of the design industry in Sweden with a special focus on the Swedish furniture industry. 2004.
- ”Behind the Music”. Funded by the Nordic Industrial Fund this was an international research project involving academics and industry representatives from all 5 Nordic countries. The work consisted of research into the competitiveness of the Swedish music and ICT industry. Apart from involvement in the final report, several conference presentations and one article in an international refereed journal resulted. The project was completed in 2003.
- ”The Internet Industry in Central Stockholm” (thesis project) A Study of Agglomeration Economies, Social Network Relations, and Information Flows [Internetbranschen i Stockholms innerstad – En studie av agglomerationsfördelar, sociala nätverksrelationer och informationsflöden]”. This thesis deals with questions concerning spatial agglomeration of economic activities. The object of study is the internet industry in central Stockholm. Through the use of statistical data and an interview study the Internet industry is described, measured, and analyzed through theories concerning agglomerations, social network relations, and knowledge and information flows. These theories are interpreted through five agglomeration themes related to the customers, subcontractors and partners, competitors, financing, and labour market, respectively. The research has recognized the importance of proximity to create and maintain networks, and to spread information and knowledge, especially tacit knowledge. The also shows how social networks, and information and knowledge flows have an essential in all the five agglomeration themes that are analyzed. The results of this analysis show the proximity to customers is the most important factor for the location of the Internet industry. Also, the local labour market and access to suppliers and partners are important factors. Competitors and rivals have a role to play when it comes to the diffusion of knowledge information, although its importance as a location factor is hard to estimate. The analysis the firms’ financing demonstrate that this factor hardly has been of crucial importance location of the Internet industry, but access to (venture) capital might have been of indirect importance for the location and the pace of the development of the Internet industry.
Journal articles, book chapters and monographs (selected)
2018 “Conceptualizing curation in the age of abundance: the case of recorded music”. (Online first in Environment and Planning A: Economy and space). (with Brian Hracs).
2018 “Death by Streaming or Vinyl Revival? Exploring the Spatial Dynamics and Value-Creating Strategies of Stockholm’s Independent Record Shops”. (Online first in Journal of Consumer Culture). (with Brian Hracs).
2017 “Ett ekonomisk-geografiskt perspektiv på intermediära processer och ’kuratorer’” in in Borén, T. (ed.) ”Urban utveckling och interaktion”. Svenska Sällskapet för Antropologi och Geografi. Ymer 2017, årgång 137.
2017 “A framework for quality-based regional competitiveness” in Huggins, R. & Thompson, P. (eds.) “Handbook of Regions and Competitiveness”. Edward Elgar. pp. 332-347. (with Anders Waxell)
2016 “Musicians and temporary spaces: the case of music festivals in Sweden”. Forthcoming chapter in Hracs B., Seman M., & Virani, T. (eds) “How and where music is made, marketed, monetized and consumed in the digital age”. Routledge. New York. (with J. Nilsson).
2014 “Temporary events and spaces in the Swedish primary art market”. Zeitschrift für Wirtschaftsgeographie/The German Journal of Economic Geography). Vol. 58, No. 4. pp. 202-215.
2014 “Place-based brands: product origin, brand channels and global circuits” in Berg, P-O & Björner, E. (eds.) “Branding Chinese Mega-Cities: Policies, practices and positioning”. Edward Elgar. Cheltenham. (with Power, D. & Fan, X.).
2013 “Sound affects. Competing with quality in the Swedish hi-fi industry”. Industry & Innovation. Vol. 20, No. 4. pp. 316-335. (with Anders Waxell).
2011 “Quality and regional competitiveness”. Environment & Planning A. Vol. 43, No. 9. pp. 2237-2252. (with Anders Waxell).
2011 Constructing brands from the outside? Brand channels, cyclical clusters and global circuits. in Pike, A. (ed.) “Brand and Branding Geographies”. (with Dominic Power).
2011 “Emerging (internet) industry and agglomeration: coping with uncertainty”. Entrepreneurship and Regional Development. Vol. 23, No. 7-8.
2010 “Fashioning a global city: global city brand channels in the fashion and design industries, the case of Milan.” Regional Studies. Vol. 44, No. 7. (with Dominic Power).
2008 “Cyclical Clusters in Global Circuits: overlapping spaces and furniture industry trade fairs”. Economic Geography. Vol. 84, No. 4. (with Dominic Power).
2008 “Inside the Internet Industry: The Importance of Proximity in Accessing Knowledge in the Agglomeration of Internet Firms in Stockholm”. European Planning Studies. Vol 16, No. 2. pp. 211-228.
2008 ”Outside in: Peripheral cultural industries and global markets”. Chapter for “Mobility and Place: Enacting European Peripheries”. Edited by Bærenholdt, Jørgen Ole & Granås Brynhild (with Dominic Power).
2005 ”Internetbranschen i Stockholms innerstad – En studie av agglomerationsfördelar, sociala nätverksrelationer och informationsflöden” [The Internet Industry in Central Stockholm – A Study of Agglomeration Economies, Social Network Relations, and Information Flows].
2004 “The emergence of a post-industrial music economy? Music and ICT synergies in Stockholm, Sweden”. Geoforum. Vol. 35, no. 4. pp. 425-439 (with Dominic Power).
Reports, conference papers and reviews
2017 ”Curating music in the digital age”. Economy, Governence, Culture – Working paper 1/2017. (with Brian Hracs).
2017 “Citadels, Cores and Confetti: Urban Festivals in the new Political Economy of the Music Industry”. Metropolitics, 5 January 2017. Review of the book “Music/City: American Festivals and Placemaking in Austin, Nashville, and Newport”. The University of Chicago Press. Chicago, by Jonathan E. Wynn.
2016 “Conceptualizing curation: a case study of recorded music in Sweden”. Paper presented at the 5:th European Colloquium on Culture, Creativity and Economy. Seville, October 2016. /with Brian Hracs).
2016 ”Only the strategic survive: Independent record shops in the digital age”. Economy, Governence, Culture – Working paper 1/2016 (with Brian Hracs).
2015 “The Economic Geographies of Independent Record Shops in the Digital Age”. Presentation at the 4th European Colloquium on Culture, Creativity and Economy in Florens, Italy, October 2015.
2015 “What brings the bacon (?) – On the economic conditions of craftsmanship and creativity”. Invited speaker at the 4th European Colloquium on Culture, Creativity and Economy in Florens, Italy, October 2015.
2015 “Curation - Creating a 'digital handshake”. Paper presented at the Association of American Geographers AAG annual conference in Chicago, April 2015.
2015 “Temporary spaces and events: cyclical clusters and global circuits in the cultural industries”. Paper presented at the Association of American Geographers AAG annual conference in Chicago, April 2015.
2015 “I besökarens fotspår – Pilotstudie av besöksnäringen i Uppsala län”. Uppsala Universitet. 2015. (with Sabine Gebert Persson, Karin Ågren, Mikael Gidhagen, David Sörhammar).
2014 “Musicians and temporary spaces”. Paper presented at the 3rd European Colloquium on Culture, Creativity and Economy. Amsterdam, October 2013. (with Jimi Nilsson).
2014 “Musicians and temporary spaces: the case of music festivals in Swedish”. Presentation at the RGS/IBG conference in London, August 2014.
2013 “The gallery opening: The role of intermediaries and temporary spaces in the primary art market”. Paper presented at the 2nd European Colloquium on Culture, Creativity and Economy. Berlin, October 2013.
2012 “The art gallery and value creating processes: The role of intermediaries and temporary spaces in the primary art market”. Paper presented at the 1st European Colloquium on Culture, Creativity and Economy. Uppsala, October 2012.
2011 ”Kulturella näringar och lokalisering”. Gränsbrytning – Nyheter om regioner och regional utveckling i Norden. Nr. 8 2011.
2010 “Quality, space and regional competition: conceptualizing a 'quality model'”. CIND Research Paper 2010:1, Uppsala: CIND (with Anders Waxell).
2010 “Emerging industries and agglomeration: Internet industry entrepreneurs coping with uncertainty”. Paper presented at the Association of American Geographers AAG annual conference in Washington, April 2010.
2009 “Constructing Scandinavian design – cyclical clusters in global circuits” Paper presented at the Association of American Geographers AAG annual conference in Las Vegas March, 2009.
2008 ”Leva på kultur - Möjligheter och utmaningar för företagare och anställda inom kulturella näringar”. CIND Research Papers 2008:1.
2007 “Trade fairs in global circuits: polycentric networks of temporary clusters in the furniture industry”. Paper presented at the Association of American Geographers AAG annual conference in San Francisco April, 2007.
2007 “Avoiding risk in the cultural industries: urban proximity and entrepreneur logistics”. Paper presented at ’Creativity and Innovation in the Cultural Industries Workshop, Paris 11-12 January 2007’.
2007 Refereeing an application to the National Geographic Society. Matthew Zook “The Baltic Tiger: The cultural economy of the Estonian software cluster”.
2006 “Nordic Design for a Global Market – Policies for developing the design industry in the Nordic Region” (with Dominic Power and Mark Lorenzen). Report for the Nordic Council of Ministers Department of Cultural Policy. The project was conducted in cooperation with the Nordic Innovations Centre.
2006 “Image of the City – Urban Branding as Constructed Capabilities in Nordic City Regions” (with Dominic Power). Report for the Nordic Innovation Centre.
2006 “Creative Directions – a Nordic framework for supporting the creative industries” (with Dominic Power). Report for the Nordic Innovation Centre.
2004 “Review: Voices from the North: New Trends in Nordic Human Geography”. European Planning Studies. Vol. 12, No. 6. pp. 906.
2004 “The Formation of Hidden Information – The geography of the Swedish Internet industry”. Paper presented at the Association of American Geographers AAG annual conference in Philadelphia, March 2004.
2004 ”The Future in Design: The competitiveness and industrial dynamics of the Nordic design industry”, Power et al. Report for the Nordic Innovation Centre.
2003 “The emergence of a post-industrial music economy. Music and ICT synergies in Stockholm, Sweden”. Paper presented at the Association of American Geographers (AAG) Annual conference, New Orleans, March 2003 (with Dominic Power).
2003 “Behind the Music: Profiting from Sound: A Systems Approach to the Dynamics of Nordic Music Industry”, Power et al. Report for the Nordic Industrial Fund.
2001 ”Internetbranschens ekonomiska geografi – Lokal arbetsmarknad ur ett agglomerationsekonomiskt perspektiv”. Memorandum for the thesis, Department of Social and Economic geography, Uppsala University.
2000 ”Musikindustri i Malmö och Hultsfred – En studie av två lokala produktionsmiljöer” [The Music Industry in Malmö and Hultsfred – A case study of two local milieus of production]. Arbetsrapport 395, Kulturgeografiska institutionen, Uppsala universitet. (Magisteruppsats).
1998 ”Populärmusik och lokala produktionsmiljöer – Eskilstuna, en del i ett musikindustriellt produktionsnätverk” [Popular Music and local milieus of production – Eskilstuna, a part of a production network within the music industry]. Arbetsrapport 290, Kulturgeografiska institutionen, Uppsala universitet. (Kandidatuppsats).
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“Creative and entrepreneurial edges: Creativity, entrepreneurship, and business networks on the edge and periphery of Sweden” (funded by Handelsbanken Jan Wallanders och Tom Hedelius Stiftelse Tore Browaldhs Stiftelse (2020- ). Economic geography has long recognized and theorized the importance of urbanization and location economies. This program contributes to a growing body of theory and empirics that attempt to nuance and challenge this orthodoxy. The overall aim is to investigate and conceptualize what ‘edge’ neighborhoods, networks and creativity mean for economic competitiveness and sustainability in Sweden. The project empirically investigates Swedish edge phenomena that whilst shaped by inward investments and outside influences may also be said to be rooted in isolation, independence and endogenous networks. The cases are examples that are peripheral both in a topographical sense (i.e. at the edge of a region) and a topological sense (i.e. at the edge of a network). First, we aim to highlight how being peripheral does not necessarily mean being disadvantaged or deficient and draws attention to the possibilities that networks and places on the edge may enjoy. Second, we attempt to contribute to theory in economic geography by highlighting the complexity and diversity of peripherality and by critically engaging with the idea that peripherality (and distance) can be an asset just as it can be a liability. Third, we consider how peripheral or edge networks and places add to explanations of how creative agglomerations come into being, and how actors mobilize to create the conditions for agglomerations and regional development.
“Funerary navigators: from fixed framework to facilitating choice in a shifting landscape” Traditionally, the Church of Sweden provided a clear framework for how funerals and pastoral care were carried out and the Church still plays an important institutional role when it comes to funerals in contemporary Sweden. However, in an increasingly secularized society it is no longer obvious who or what sets the framework for how a funeral is conducted and the concept of 'the church in the centre of the village' has gradually lost its meaning. Given this background, the aim of this project is to increase understanding of the functional and spatial division brought about by processes of differentiation and professionalisation of funeral services. Empirically, the project will focus on three types of actors - officiant training programmes, civil funeral officiants and priests and funeral directors/homes. The project also focuses on three different spatial levels (urban, rural and online) within a clearly defined region – Uppsala County. It is an interdisciplinary project which using qualitative methods combines theoretical and analytical competence from two disciplines: Sociology of religion and human geography. The project will provide new knowledge into how the system of actors that relate to funerals in contemporary Sweden act and from a starting point in these insights enable a better understanding of how individuals plan their funerals (micro level) and how structural changes (macro level) influence how funerals are conducted today.
”Spatial and temporal challenges in hybridized work”. Two paradigmatic shifts have changed how we understand, organize, communicate and lead organizations. The first major transformation of work practices from an established physical context to a digital context initiated by the digital revolution of the mid 1990s, accelerated into the mainstream in September 2021 as a result of COVID-19. This was followed by a second transformation into hybridized work practices as society gradually opened up again due to C OVID-restrictions being lifted. This second transformation is much more complex and unpredictable than the first, because it combines elements of remote work with traditional in-office work as the home and the workplace simultaneously now have the status of workplace. As many organizations now have returned to the office, the complexities of hybridized work have resulted in new spatial-temporal hierarchies and struggles of inclusion noticeable in practices that combine remote and physical participants. Combining a relational perspective on practice with Hartmut Rosa’s theories of technological acceleration, identity, and alienation/resonance, the proposed project aims at establishing a long-term research environment that investigates the spatial and temporal challenges that emerge from hybridized work practices.
Past projects (selected)
- “The Art of Migrating: A study of how artists and musicians create meanings and translocal connections in times of conflict and uncertainty” (funded by Circus/Uppsala University 2021-2022.
- “Managing the challenges of time and space in digital transformation” (funded by Vinnova 2021-2022).
- “Innovating funerals and funeral rites in Sweden” (funded by Circus/Uppsala University 2020-2021).
- “Managing the digital transformation of physical space” (funded by Vinnova 2019-2021)
- “Intermediation, place and value creation: Exploring the processes and spaces of ‘curation’” (funded by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond 2015-2021)
- ”Culture, creativity and economy” (Rambidrag för kulturforskning’), funded by Vetenskapsrådet 2014-2020.
- "Quality, competitiveness and regions", funded by Handelsbanken and the Jan Wallanders and Tom Hedelius Stiftelse Tore Browaldhs Stiftelse, 2011-14.
- ”I besökarens fotspår” ("Following the visitor”), funded by ‘Uppsala Innovation’ through the project ‘Verifiering för samverkan’ (‘Verification for collaboration’), 2014-2015.
- "Competitiveness through quality”, funded by The Joint Committee for Nordic Research Councils for the Humanities and the Social Sciences (NOS-HS) and the funding of Nordic Collaborative Research Projects (NORDCORP), 2009-13.
- “Creativity and Innovation in the Cultural Industries”, funded by Wallander/Hedelius Fund at Handelsbanken, 2006-09.
- ”The Image of the City - Urban Branding as Constructed Capabilities in Nordic City Regions”, funded by the Nordic Innovation Center, 2005-06.
- “Creative Directions - a framework for supporting the creative industries”, funded by the Nordic Innovation Center, 2005.
- “The Future in Design”, funded by the Nordic Industrial Fund, 2004.
- ”Behind the Music”, funded by the Nordic Industrial Fund, 2003.
- ”The Internet Industry in Central Stockholm” (thesis project) A Study of Agglomeration Economies, Social Network Relations, and Information Flows [Internetbranschen i Stockholms innerstad – En studie av agglomerationsfördelar, sociala nätverksrelationer och informationsflöden]”. Thesis project funded by Uppsala University, 2000-2005.
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