Medical Humanities

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Mindfulness in Science and Popular Culture
Since the late 1990s, the number of scientific articles that deal with mindfulness as a medical and therapeutic intervention has grown significantly. Mindfulness, according to its advocates, holds the promise of relieving both physical and mental ills, most notably depression and stress. The aim of this project is focused on tracing the changing conceptual meaning of mindfulness as it has been expressed and negotiated in scientific journals 1999-2011. It is also to put mindfulness in a broader cultural context which takes stock of the simultaneous increase of mindfulness-related activities or products – coaching, motivational courses, self-help books, etc. This is a worldcloud I made recently, based on a paper I’m working on. Just for fun.

‘ve started using Pinterest to collect images that are used on different websites to illustrate mindfulness.
Visit Jenny Eklöf’s profile on Pinterest.

The Political History of Swedish Biofuels – the Fuel of the Future Programme
Although transport biofuels have been seen as the “fuels of the future” for over 100 year, it was in the first decade of the 21st century that they had what many consider a definitive breakthrough,  at least in a Swedish context. They have continued to be motivated on the grounds of energy security, economic growth, technological competitiveness, but above all as a solution to the problems of global warming.  Sweden promoted new innovative constellations of corporate-university-state links in order to meet these environmental challenges, resulting in high expectations for so-called “second generation” motor biofuels. In 2007-2008, a predominantly European media controversy over the pros and cons of producing and using transport biofuels broke out where the underlying assumption of both the EU and Swedish policy – that biofuels such as ethanol reduced CO2 emissions – was called into question. In this project I’ve studied the Swedish biofuel policy, its core ideological underpinnings and the ways in which these have been contested.

Gene technology policy 1970-2000
Ever since its inception in the early 1970s, gene technology has engendered hopes and expectations as well as fears and doubts. My thesis explored the Swedish political response to the challenges posed by gene technology, seen through the prism of governmental commissions. I examined ideas about risks and ethics in relation to gene technology, as they were represented in the inner workings and public reception of the Gene-Ethics Commission of 1981, the Gene Technology Commission of 1990 and the Biotechnology Commission of 1997.  I tried to analyze these ideas as partly being products of the arenas in which they were formulated. Governmental commissions can be seen as arenas where science and politics intersect, as “boundary organizations” that impinge on the framing of the whole gene technology issue.

From 2009-2013, I was a member of the Swedish Gene Technology Advisory Board. Website:

Deparment of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies

USSTE (Umeå Studies in Science, Technology and Environment)

Professional affiliations
The international Network on Public Communication of Science and Technology (PCST)
EASST European Association for the  Study of Science and Technology
4S Society for the Social Studies of Science
Idé- och lärdomshistoriska samfundet, Lychnos


Medical humanities
Glasgow Medical Humanities Research Centre, Glasgow University
Centre for the Humanities and Health, King’s College London
Centre for Medical Humanities, Durham University
Medical Humanities Research Network, Edinburgh University