Dr. Sofie Bedford
Associated Researcher

Dr. Sofie Bedford
Associated Researcher

Associate professor (docent) in Political Science and researcher at Institute for Russian and Eurasian Studies (IRES) at Uppsala University. Ph.D. in Political Science from Stockholm University and MA in Peace and Conflict Research from Uppsala University. Currently living in Vienna.

Research interests:

  • authoritarian regimes
  • opposition
  • religious-, political- and civic mobilization
  • democracy promotion
  • Post-Soviet Eurasia and the Caucasus

Current project:

Following Swedish Aid: Translation and Transformation of Sweden’s Gender Equality and Sexual Rights Discourses in the Development Cooperation with Eastern Europe (FoSAid)

Swedish strategies for development cooperation see gender equality as a precondition for democracy and for just and sustainable global development. As a result, Sweden is among the leading countries when it comes to providing development aid for promotion of gender equality and sexual rights in non-Western contexts. Informed by theory of translation and actor-centered theory to democratization, FoSAid focuses on how the choices and strategies of key actors in democracy assistance – donors, implementers, aid-recipients and their beneficiaries, as well as the interaction between them, impacts the features and functions of Swedish promotion of gender equality and sexual rights discourses in Armenia and Georgia.

In this multidisciplinary project my colleague and I will use qualitative textual and ethnographic methods to follow how Swedish financial support allocated for gender equality and sexual rights development project facilitates the travel of Swedish idealized narratives across national, regional, and geopolitical borders and how these narratives get reinterpreted, contested and adapted in the process. Our micro-level focus on the agency of actors involved in development cooperation will provide new knowledge about achievements and failures in promotion of gender equality and sexual rights in Eastern Europe.

FoSAid is a 3-year project funded by the Swedish Research Council.

Selected recent publications:

2024. The End to “Balancing” Foreign Policy? Why the Invasion of Ukraine Matters for Azerbaijan. In Ninna Mörner ed. A World Order in Transformation? A Comparative Study of Consequences of the War and Reactions to these Changes in the Region. CBEES State of the Region Report 2024. Forthcoming (with Nurlan Aliyev)

2023. “Politics of uncertainty” in practice. The Belarusian 2020 presidential election. In Miriam Matejova and Anastasia Shesterinina eds. Uncertainty in Global Politics. Routledge

2023. Ring out the Old and Ring in the Young: Upgrading Authoritarianism in Azerbaijan. Baltic Worlds XVI (3): 8-32

2023. Digital Authoritarianism and Activist Perceptions of Social Media in Azerbaijan. Baku Research Institute, 21 August (with Najmin Kamilsoy).

2023. National Identification and Regime Legitimation: The Societal Impact of War in Azerbaijan. Caucasus Analytical Digest 134.

2021. The 2020 Presidential Election in Belarus: Erosion of Authoritarian Stability and Re-politicization of Society. Nationalities Papers 49(5): 808-819

2021. Protecting the Nation, State and Government: ‘Traditional Islam’ in Azerbaijan, Europe-Asia Studies 73(4): 691-712 (with Ceyhun Mahmudlu and Shamkhal Abilov).

2019. Resisting the Irresistible: ‘Failed Opposition’ in Azerbaijan and Belarus Revisited, Government and Opposition 54 (4): 686-714 (with Laurent Vinatier)