Maria Bäcke

Assistant Professor of General Literary Studies
Department of Language, Aesthetic Learning and Literature , School of Education and Communication
Research Leader of CCD - Communication, Culture and Diversity
Programme Manager of LeaDS

Currently holding positions as programme director for the master's programme LeaDS and as leader for the research environment CCD ( at Jönköping University, I have a PhD in TechnoScience. My PhD thesis (Power Games: Rules and Roles in Second Life, 2011) focuses on power, hierarchies and roles in online role-play groups. My current research centers around similar issues as I study structures of ownership, power, authority and subversion as well as digitalisation in schools and in postcolonial contexts. I have also worked in teacher education since 2004. 

My current research thus merges the fields of digitalisation, education, and cultural studies. The cultural aspects have been my main research focus for a long time as I have analysed this in fictional literature, but I have drawn on this perspective when analysing non-fictional reseach material related to digitalisation, diversity, and education.

In various constellations, I'm currently studying the reasons for, and processes behind, the selection of EdTech and the implementation of AI for students. A related area of interest is students' use of the same tools in schools, at leisure centres, and in municipal adult education, drawing on issues of power and subversion in "Big Data," i.e. data ownership and data mining/harvesting.

Current Research

I am the PI for the project Goda exempel för skolnärvaro (Good examples for school attendance),  financed by ULF for the years 2025-2026, where researchers from Jönköping University and Gothenburg University collaborate with school leaders and staff in Jönköping and Värnamo. The goal is to coordinate efforts and facilitate for children and youngsters who either fail to attend school (i.e. problematic school absence) or risk finding themselves in that position.

I am also the Swedish PI for the GTSF (Global Teachers for a Sustainable Future) project funded by Erasmus+. The focus of the GTSF project is internationalisation at home within teacher education with partners from Spain (overall PI), Austria, Germany, Romania, Turkey, Ukraine, and Sweden. Associates of the project can be found in Malaysia, Colombia, and Mexico.

The book chapter Digital hållbarhet (Digital Sustainability) will soon be found in the book Digital kompetens för lärare (Digital Competence for Teachers) (published by Gleerups). It focuses on ecologic, economic and social sustainability in relation to digitalisation in schools.

The project Futures Day – Who holds the future? is a collaboration with an upper secondary school in Jönköping, but a series of collaborations with other schools in other parts of Sweden are underway. Focus in this project is students' ideas about technology and the role of AI in the future drawing on futures scenarios as a framework. It focuses on sustainability from ecologic, economic and social points of view.

Student Imaginaries for Global Citizenship and Sustainable Internationalisation is a collaboration between researchers in Spain, Austria, Romania, Ukraine, and Sweden. How do students in higher education envision the future regarding internationalisation and globalisation?

The REaD-IT project (2022 - current) focuses on the reading strategies of students at upper secondary level and highlights the invisible competencies (primarily digital and language ones) as paths towards active citizenship.

The work on the book chapter The Unbearable Lightness of Imagination in a GenAI Era has only just begun. Together with fellow researchers at Jönköping University I'm writing about the Futures Day project for the book Postdigital Imaginations: Critiques, Methods, and Interventions.

Other tasks and qualifications




Bäcke, M., Vigmo, S. (2024). Lost opportunities for globalisation, digitalisation, and socially sustainable education? Advocating for digital and global Bildung in Swedish upper secondary schools Frontiers in Education, 9. More information
Bäcke, M., Vigmo, S. (2024). Editorial: Learning, digitalization, and social sustainability Frontiers in Communication, 9. More information
Bäcke, M. (2022). Resisting commodification: Subverting the power of the global tech companies Bandung, 9(1-2), 49-79. More information
Bäcke, M. (2022). The global north and the global south negotiations of power: a literary discourse study of Angola’s Agualusa and Ondjaki Journal of Multicultural Discourses, 17(4), 312-322. More information
Bäcke, M. (2012). Make-believe and make-belief in Second Life role-playing communities Convergence. The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, 18(1), 85-92. More information
Bäcke, M. (2007). "Freedom for just one night": the promise and threat of information and communication technologies Women Writers: a zine. More information
Bäcke, M. (2007). "Freedom for Just One Night": The Promise and Threat of Information and Communication Technologies Women Writers: a zinenet. More information

Doctoral thesis

Bäcke, M. (2011). Power games: Rules and roles in Second Life (Doctoral thesis, Karlskrona: Blekinge tekniska högskola. Sektionen för planering och mediedesign). More information

Book chapter

Bäcke, M. (2021). Diskursanalys i engelsk­undervisningen. In: A. Eilard & C. Dahl (Ed.), Diskursanalys: med utbildningsvetenskapliga perspektiv (pp. 125 -142). Lund: Studentlitteratur AB More information
Bäcke, M., Hult, F. (2019). A TESOL Practicum in Sweden. In: A. Cirocki, I. Madyarov & L. Baecher (Ed.), Current perspectives on the TESOL Practicum: Cases from around the globe (pp. 247 -263). Cham: Springer More information
Bäcke, M. (2019). Migration, Integration and Power: The Image of “the Dumb Swede” in Swede Hollow and the Image of Contemporary New Swedes in One Eye Red and She Is Not Me. In: A. Tilbe & R. M. Rafik Khali (Ed.), Culture, literature and migration (pp. 73 -88). London: Transnational Press More information
Bäcke, M. (2009). Self, setting, and situation in Second Life. In: Francisco J. Ricardo (Ed.), Literary art in digital performance: case studies in new media art and criticism (pp. 109 -142). New York: Continuum More information
Bäcke, M. (2009). De-colonizing Cyberspace: Post-Colonial Strategies in Cyberfiction. In: Francisco J. Ricardo (Ed.), Cyberculture and New Media (pp. 189 -196). Amsterdam: Rodopi More information

Conference paper

Bäcke, M., Vigmo, S. (2021). Two Steps Forward and One Step Back: Remediating an International Masters’ Programme Environment. Designs for Learning: Remediation of Learning online conference, May 25–26, 2021, Stockholm university, Sweden. More information
Bäcke, M. (2014). The framework for university level text analysis. Kristianstad: Kristianstad University Press, Text Analysis Symposium at Kristianstad University, April 2014. More information
Bäcke, M. (2008). Avant-Garde and Subversion in an Online 3D World. Luton, UK Under the Mask 2014: Perspectives on the Gamer, June 7th 2008, Luton, UK. More information
Bäcke, M. (2007). Identity to Fit the Environment: The Creation of Avatars in Second Life Role-Playing Sims. League of Worlds 4 Conference, The Blekinge Institute of Technology, Karlskrona, Sweden, 9-13 October, 2007. More information
Bäcke, M. (2007). Construction of Digital Space: Second Life as a fantasy or a work tool. M3 - The Virtual '07. More information
Bäcke, M. (2006). Avatars in Second Life: Creating a Persona in a Virtual World. Boone, North Carolina League of Worlds 3 Conference. More information

Conference proceedings (editor)

Mattisson, J., Bäcke, M. (Eds.). (2014). Text analysis: culture, framework & teaching: conference proceedings from the Text Analysis Symposium at Kristianstad University, April 2014. , Kristianstad: Kristianstad University Press More information