Utblick #2: Whither Europe?

The second issue of Utblick is here!

Europe is once again heading for the voting booths. With the rise of nationalist, populist and right-wing extremist parties across the union, this election is of critical importance. It is not only about which parties will win but also the type of values that the voters would like to promote at the European level. It is about the future of Europe, the type of cooperation it would like to pursue in the upcoming years, and the policies it would implement. It is an election between the right and the left ideologies.

The European Parliament Elections raise concerns in every aspect of life in Europe. How will the election impact feminist movements? What is the role of religion in the European elections and how do parties mobilize anti-Islamic rhetoric to attract voters? How can the youth in Europe be mobilized to participate in the election and increase turnout? These are some of the key questions which will be discussed by various articles in this issue.

Other articles look at the role of democracy in the European Union and how a higher turnout can increase the legitimacy of this polity. You will also read about how Swedish parties in the European parliament position themselves in relation to climate change, migration, and how they envision the future of Europe. The issue further covers articles on how recent events, such as Brexit and the rise of right wing parties, would impact the upcoming European parliament elections and shape the future of the union.

Categorization of political parties at the European level remains a mystery to a majority of voters in the upcoming election. This issue thus contains an article which looks at the different groupings within the European parliament and how different national parties ally with others at the regional level to maximize their interests and promote their political agenda, at home and in Europe.

Despite the continuous concerns, critical debates and the blurred future of Europe, a majority of the articles emphasizes a valuable point: to vote!

Since participation in the election is a key pillar of democracy, we hope that this issue will serve as an encouragement to take more youth to the voting booths and engage them.

The editors,

Nazifa Alizada and Egil Sturk 

First Utblick of 2019 is here!

Turmoil Under Heaven, this year’s first issue of Utblick, is here!

We live in uncertain times: a majority of the BRICs-countries; Brazil, Russia, India and China – comprising over 40% of the world’s population and roughly 23% of world GDP – are now governed by leaders with authoritarian tendencies. Populist, nationalist, and/or revisionist governments dissatisfied with the Liberal World Order established after the Second World War: from Putin’s Eurasian vision for Russia to Modis’ Hindu-nationalism, Xi’s China Dream, and Bolsonaro’s Trumpista-regime in Brazil. Meanwhile, the leader of this order – the United States – is seemingly relinquishing its role as global Hegemon and returning to the isolationism characteristic of the interwar period, when both presidential candidates and Ku Klux Klan-members loudly proclaimed “America First!”

This issue is dedicated to the largest member of the aforementioned constellation, China, and its role in world order, its civil society, its history and future. You will get a micro- and macro perspective on China; from children and women in rural households and civil society activists in the Tibetan highlands, to the consequences of revised waste management policies and the situation of Uyghurs in Xinjiang Province.

Will China be a benevolent Hegemon or a voracious predator? Will it preserve the current order, or will it change it in its own favor? Will it surpass and replace the United States as leader of the World, or will it be able to coexist peacefully? Will it be able to create enough goodwill among neighbors and forge a “community of common density” in the words of Xi Jinping, without being perceived as a revisionist threat to international order? Is there a real risk of a Great Power War breaking out between the US and China? All these questions, and more, are examined by our contributors in this issue.

You can read the new issue HERE.

The editors,

Nazifa Alizada and Egil Sturk 

Last UTBLICK of 2018!

The last issue of UTBLICK of this year has arrived!

We have covered human rights: the rights we have for simply being humans,  supposedly inherent to all of us without discrimination. Something you would think would be “set in stone”, however, they have been growing and evolving since their conception. What’s more, their application is constantly on the line. Sadly, this makes it possible to talk about the multiple violations of human rights. 

You will be able to learn more about some of the infringements, for example the refugee status and its links with the duty to rescue in the French case or the Australian government policy. We also discuss foreign domestic workers, their fragile citizenship and the abuses they are subjected to, such as inhumane working hours.

You can read about violations of the right to a fair trial and some creative outcomes of it; the dubious status of disabled people as bearers of rights around the world and the treatment of homeless people in the UK. Also,the extents to which nationalisation of giving birth and bearing life in China has gotten to, exemplified by the changing of its one-child policy.

You will also be able to delve into reflections about the complex connection between the nation state and civil society; the relationship between human rights and climate change and an article about Aung San Suu Kyi and her status as a fallen human rights figure.

Lastly, and perfectly matching this season of the year, we have an interesting perspective on tradition and innovation, exemplified with the Dutch Sinterklaas and Black Pete.

Finally, we would like to thank Emma, who took over as Utblick’s graphic designer this fall and couldn’t have done a better job!

You can read the new issue HERE.

Hope you have enjoyed this year of UTBLICK as much as we did putting the issues together!

We wish you happy holidays and pleasant reading,

Moa and Ariadna

UTBLICK Nr 3 is finally here!

The first issue of the autumn 2018 is finally HERE!! In this number we’ve talked about the broad subject of MEDIA.

For more than a decade the press freedom has declined in the world, but at the same time new kinds of media are on the rise.

Recent events have made us wonder about which changes media will go through in the near future (digital revolution?). Since cases such as Snowden’s whistle-blow or Cambridge Analytica, how much do we know about how the data we provide and the data we receive is being handled? Furthermore, could the current state of a decentralized and extremely rapid flow of information have any consequences with practices like biohacking?

But we should not forget the people behind technology, and for instance, how the information is being moderated outside of algorithms; who are the people behind the reporting button?

This leads us to social media and how we interact with it; from the narcissistic use of social media to the unconsented recording of Korea
n women in public spaces. And also fake news, a term that has come up and been discussed all over during the last couple of years. But what exactly is fake news and how does it affect you? We hope you can find some answers with the specific case of Macedonia and how fake news managed to disband the country’s renaming referendum.

We also want to build your hopes up with a very inspiring inte
rview with Swedish news reporter Carina Bergfeldt and her thoughts on the journalistic career, the current politics and how has she managed to do some amazing things such as reporting the KKK from within.
We should also be aware of the role of the more conventional media, by some cases such as Singapore and LGBT rights, performative violence and its treatment by the conventional media and lastly, Spain and its controversial freedom of expression. And on a bigger trend, the tu

rn to illiberalism in democracies. So, to wrap it up, you will be able to find an “authoritarian handbook” :)

You can check the magazine here.

Pleasant reading!

Moa Persson and Ariadna Carrascosa

New issue of UTBLICK out now!!

The second issue of 2018 is finally here!! This time we have explored the theme of elections and democracy in a changing world.

This year we are facing an enormous amount of elections. One of the most important aspects of a democracy is elections, free and fair elections is what gives voice to our societies. Earlier this year we have seen Putin’s reelection in Russia, and also Hungary and Poland’s move towards nationalistic politics and anti-european governments. Since previously we have already witnessed the low Utblick_No2_2018_COVER-1voting participation in France’s elections, Germany’s struggle with building a government, the victory of Trump in the US. But not to forget some positive trends in democracy as the surprisingly peaceful resignation of Zimbabwe’s long ruling leader Mugabe, that now will lead up to a parliamentary election later this year. As well as the formation of new political parties, like the Demokraterna in Gothenburg, who is claiming to be neither left or right and the left wing Podemos in Spain, just to mention a few. So we thought it would be the right time to explore the concept of elections and a myriad of issues entailed to it, especially with the upcoming Swedish election that will be held in September.

We wanted to look at elections in a wider spectrum and from different countries and cultures. So in this number of Utblick we hope you will learn about some of the elections which are taking place this year and some trends we are witnessing in the world right now. Such as the worrying lack of participation of the young generation in elections or the disconnect between society and politicians. This has brought to life alternatives like e-democracy initiatives such as DigidemLab.

This is not to undermine national election issues, such as the coming mexican election, which is believed to shake the country’s policies. As well as the need to critically review parliamentary and presidency laws that might be discriminatory, such as the case of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Or democratic retreats, like in Cambodia.  

So, in this issue we have compiled these and many more articles and topics that we hope you will enjoy.

You can check the magazine here.

Or grab a copy in different campuses, libraries and cafés around Gothenburg!

Pleasant reading!

Moa Persson and Ariadna Carrascosa

Lithium: the new oil?

By Ariadna Carrascosa

Lithium is one of the essential components of electric batteries that power electric cars, smartphones, tablets, etc. The demand for lithium has steadily been increasing and it is expected to almost double until 2025.  For this reason, it is safe to say that lithium as a commodity has a great potential of being a game changer, in the same sense that oil has been for many years.

The world largest producers of lithium are China, Australia, Chile and Argentina, although Brazil, Zimbabwe and Portugal also Uyuni_landsatproduce the mineral but in smaller quantities. However, Bolivia has one of the biggest reserves though not really exploited yet.

In South America there is an estimated 60% of the Earth’s lithium resources and reserves. Bolivia, Chile and Argentina, also known as the “Lithium Triangle” or “Lithium Belt” have had really different approaches to the exploitation of this mineral.

Chile has some companies operating, like SQM and Chemettal. Its free market economy has been very attractive for foreign direct investment. The government is trying to introduce a production quota, and there have been some labour disputes and water shortages which have been regarded as negative by the investors.

In South America there is an estimated 60% of the Earth’s lithium resources and reserves.

Meanwhile, Argentina has left protectionism behind with current president Mauricio Macri. This is expected to encourage investment. Nonetheless, the activity has been merely extractive so far, which raises the question of how much of it will actually enrich the country.

On the other hand, Bolivia, which is estimated to hold half of the world lithium reserves, has just started planning how to produce the mineral. So far, president Evo Morales does not want Bolivia to become a mere exporter of lithium but rather wants that value-added activities are settled in Bolivia as well, such as battery plants and car factories. However, the raw materials the country has are not as pure, which can make the processing more expensive. Moreover, the country’s weak infrastructures could be problematic as well. Another challenge that Bolivia faces is the reluctance of foreign investors to invest in Bolivia due to Evo Morales being from a left wing party.

In the case of Brazil, lithium reserves are way scarcer than in the “Lithium belt”. The country produces lithium which cannot be used for batteries but it may be able to develop its lithium industry in order to produce lithium that can power secondary batteries, capable of powering smartphones. Lithium in Brazil is also regulated by the National Nuclear Energy Commission because of its possibility of being used in nuclear technology, which makes it harder to exploit. All of the above-mentioned, together with the “custo Brasil”, the high cost of doing business in Brazil, are burdens for the trade of the mineral that would put Brazil behind Bolivia, Argentina and Chile regarding this commodity and thus, changing the geopolitical landscape of the region.

Another factor to be considered is the role of Asian countries. There has been an increasing demand for lithium from China, Japan and South Korea. China has a considerable amount of lithium reserves but its interest has not stopped there, rather it is the contrary. China has stakes in lithium mines and companies in Australia and South America and is also focusing on cobalt which is used in the production of batteries as well, by purchasing a cobalt mine in Congo, for example. This secures China’s position, thus 1024px-Limetalreinforcing its value-added industry, as it is one of the biggest electric vehicles and smartphones producers. On the other hand, Japan and South Korea are way more dependent on South American lithium reserves.

So, the Lithium belt has a very powerful commodity at the moment, that could possibly change the power structures within the South American region, diminishing Brazil’s former hegemony. Also, South Korean and Japanese companies will be equally important in how this develops, especially regarding challenging China’s already secured battery market. So, the ability of the Lithium belt countries together with Japan and South Korea to build an stable alternative to China will be crucial. Likewise, it is unknown how Argentina, Chile and Bolivia will manage to keep some of the capital and benefits from the lithium market if they want to benefit their countries from their ‘white gold reserves’ and not become mere exporters.

Finally, other challenges ahead are the uncertainty concerning the evolution of battery technologies. There is the possibility that alternative sources to lithium are found.  It is also unknown if the electric cars hype ends up the way it is predicted or if they do not really end up establishing in the market, especially given some of the problems they face such as their limited range or the fear of automatization and accidents. And finally, it could be that hydrogen takes over and becomes the source of future cars.

Cover photo taken by (Luca Galuzzi) http://www.galuzzi.it

Lithium stones picture By Dnn87 – Self-photographed

First Utblick of 2018 out now! FEMINISM


This issue has been carefully curated and edited by yours truly, Moa Persson and Ariadna Carrascosa, the new editors of UTBLICK magazine for this coming year 2018. We are very excited and glad to offer you this issue focused on feminism that we hope you enjoy as much as we did putting it out together!

You can grab a copy in different campuses, libraries and cafés around town but you can also read it HERE if you prefer.

This is the beginning of an incredibly exciting and promising year in UTBLICK magazine and we hope you will come along with us.

We wish you a pleasant, critical and feminist reading,

Moa and Ariadna


Link to the magazine: 1st Issue 2018 FEMINISM

Utblick nr 4 2017 out now!

25189544_10203841689920222_1891558650_oPower is a complex concept. What is power, who has it and what are the consequences of power being exploited? None of these questions can be immediately and easily answered; they require careful analysis and critical thinking on the ever-changing rules of power. In this last issue of 2017, we try to shed some light on these faces of power. Some of the covered aspects are the power of discourses, the role of money, and the authoritarian state mechanisms of disciplining the masses. These are however only scratches on the surface, yet we hope they give some insights and trigger some thought about the role of power in a modern society.

So feel free to pick a copy of the magazine in a university campus or library, or read the online version here!


We wish you a pleasant read,

Axel and Mikael

Utblick nr 3 2017 out now!

Dreams and nightmares of politics is no new thing. Used as a rhetoric tool, as means of analysis and subject of comparison, utopias and dystopias has from time to time been an influential ingredient of public debate. Carrying hope and dreams of a better future, utopias also come with the risk of oppression – if the ends justify the means, hope might quickly turn into despair.

Utblick3_2017_fram2The third issue of Utblick 2017 examines these topics in greater detail. Covering subjects like (but not limited to) the state of contemporary politics, the role of social media, and the former colonial capital of Great Britain, we hope to provide some interesting reading for most of you. Pick up a copy of the magazine in a university campus or library nearby, or read it as PDF here.


Pleasant read,

Mikael and Axel

Utblick nr 2 2017 out now!

Utblick2_2017_framhelTime goes by and soon the spring semester will end. Dominated by the French elections, this spring has brought a lot of interesting matters of international policy. In this the second issue of Utblick 2017, we offer a mix of exciting topics, including but not limited to geopolitics in the Arctic, Islamic terrorism (and the practice of othering) and a few angles on capitalism. Read it online here – or pick up a copy of the magazine at Campus Haga or a library nearby, crash in a chair on a warm summer’s day and enjoy!

Pleasant read,


Mina and Axel