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Changing boundaries, defending boundaries: Gender relations in the Swedish Armed Forces
Linköping University, The Tema Institute, Technology and Social Change. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)Alternative title
Att förändra och försvara gränser : Genusrelationer i den svenska Försvarsmakten (Swedish)
Abstract [en]

This thesis aims to show how gender is done in the Swedish Armed Forces, against the backdrop of its transition into an international defence organization and the international resolutions that call for gender mainstreaming in peacekeeping operations. In the so-called “New Armed Forces”, traditional demarcations that have separated civilian employees from members of the military officer profession are no longer self-evident. At the same time, what it means to be men and women in the military is changing.

Three empirical studies form the basis of the thesis. The first consists of qualitative interviews with women pioneers in the military officer profession, and discusses how gender relations in the Swedish military have changed since the inclusion of women. The second addresses the intersecting relations of gender and occupation and is based on interviews with strategic and executive actors in the Armed Forces Headquarters. The third, ethnographic, study follows a military unit preparing for a peacekeeping mission. It focuses on gender relations in everyday work and shows how the ongoing transformation changes what it means to be military men and women.

The thesis is informed by feminist studies of organization, critical studies of men and masculinities, research on professions and occupations, and military studies. A “doing gender” approach and a relational view of both gender and occupations guide the analysis. The analysis shows how established ways of doing gender are changed and reproduced in military practices, how the emphasis on peacekeeping reshapes gender relations in military work, and how organizational boundaries are maintained and deconstructed in organizational practices. Theoretically, the thesis contributes by developing tools for analysing the practising of gender in organizations. The concept of boundary work is elaborated into a tool for analysing how demarcations of gender and occupation are accomplished in work practices. The concept Repair work is employed to capture the complexities of doing masculinities in organizations, by looking closely at situations where the everyday practising of gender is disturbed.

Abstract [sv]

Denna avhandling syftar till att visa hur genus görs i den svenska Försvarsmakten, mot bakgrund av organisationens förändring från invasionsförsvar till insatsförsvar. Denna process kopplas till kraven på jämställdhetsintegrering inom fredsbevarande arbete. I den så kallade ”nya Försvarsmakten” är de gränser som tidigare skilt civilanställda från yrkesofficerare inte längre självklara. Samtidigt förändras de innebörder som kön ges i organisationen.

Avhandlingen bygger på tre empiriska studier. Den första består av kvalitativa intervjuer med några av de första kvinnliga yrkesofficerarna i Sverige och diskuterar hur genusrelationerna har förändras sedan kvinnor gavs tillträde till officersyrket. Den andra, som inriktar sig på hur genus- och yrkesrelationer samverkar, bygger på intervjuer med aktörer på ledande och strategiska positioner i Försvarsmaktens högkvarter. Den tredje studien är etnografisk och följer ett internationellt insatsförband under förberedelserna för en fredsbevarande insats. Den undersöker hur genusrelationer skapas i det dagliga arbetet och visar hur den pågående förändringen omformar de betydelser som kvinnor och män tillskrivs i militären.

Den tidigare forskning som avhandlingen knyter an till är genus- och organisationsforskning, kritiska studier av män och maskulinitet, forskning om yrken och professioner samt samhällsvetenskapliga militärstudier. Genomgående används ett ”doing gender”-perspektiv samt ett relationellt förhållningsätt till genus såväl som yrke. Analysen visar hur etablerade sätt att göra kön förändras och reproduceras i militära praktiker, hur betoningen på fredsbevarande arbete omformar genusrelationer samt hur gränser upprätthålls och dekonstrueras i organisatoriska praktiker. Avhandlingen bidrar med nya teoretiska verktyg för att förstå genuspraktiker i organisationer. Begreppet gränsarbete vidareutvecklas till ett begrepp som visar hur genus- och yrkesgränser görs i det dagliga arbetet. Begreppet reparationsarbete tydliggör de komplexa praktiker genom vilka maskulinitet görs då det vardagliga genusskapandet sätts ur spel.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press , 2011. , 95 + papers 1-4 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Arts and Science, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 546
Keyword [en]
Gender, gender relations, military, civilian employees, organization, Resolution 1325, change, masculinities, homosociality, boundary work, repair work, peacekeeping, Sweden
Keyword [sv]
Genus, genusrelationer, militären, civilanställda, organisation, Resolution 1325, förändring, maskuliniteter, homosocialitet, gränsarbete, reparationsarbete, fredsbevarande arbete, Sverige
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-71257ISBN: 978-91-7393-060-4 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-71257DiVA: diva2:446480
Public defence
2011-10-28, VAL, Vallfarten, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 13:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2011-10-07 Created: 2011-10-07 Last updated: 2014-10-09Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Changing gender relations - Women officers' experiences from the Swedish Armed Forces
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Changing gender relations - Women officers' experiences from the Swedish Armed Forces
2008 (English)In: Economic and Industrial Democracy, ISSN 0143-831X, E-ISSN 1461-7099, Vol. 29, no 2, 192-216 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article addresses the dynamics of changing gender relations. Drawing on the theoretical framework of gender relations and research on women in male-dominated organizations, the article analyses the experiences of women officers in the Swedish Armed Forces. The article focuses on experiences of including as well as excluding practices and the processes of negotiating gender boundaries. The article contributes to the field by highlighting the importance of changing perceptions of gender, showing that the officers' perceptions of gender change with time, age and rank. This change is fundamental for understanding the way the women attempt to negotiate more equal gender relations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Journals online, 2008
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-43754 (URN)10.1177/0143831X07088541 (DOI)74666 (Local ID)74666 (Archive number)74666 (OAI)
Available from: 2009-10-10 Created: 2009-10-10 Last updated: 2017-12-13Bibliographically approved
2. Soldiers and secretaries: Gendered boundary work in the Swedish Armed Forces
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Soldiers and secretaries: Gendered boundary work in the Swedish Armed Forces
2010 (English)In: Scandinavian Journal of Management, ISSN 0956-5221, E-ISSN 1873-3387, Vol. 26, no 2, 166-175 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

What happens when intersecting relations of gender and occupation are challenged by organizational change? In the present article, I explore this question based on a case study in the Swedish Armed Forces; an organization that is currently in a state of substantial transformation. Instead of defending the nations borders against armed attack, the purpose is now to participate in peacekeeping operations worldwide. When informants construct the "New Armed Forces", they envision changed patterns of both gender and occupation. I show how gender and occupation intersect in informants use of metaphors and images, analyse constructions of gendered occupational boundaries and problematize their visions for the future. I also add new dimensions to existing research by gendering the theory of boundary work.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2010
Keyword
Boundary work; Gender relations; Occupational demarcations; Organizational boundaries; Armed Forces; Military profession; Civilian employees
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-58357 (URN)10.1016/j.scaman.2009.12.004 (DOI)000278721100005 ()
Note

Original Publication: Alma Persson , Soldiers and secretaries: Gendered boundary work in the Swedish Armed Forces, 2010, Scandinavian Journal of Management, (26), 2, 166-175. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scaman.2009.12.004 Copyright: Elsevier http://www.elsevier.com/

Available from: 2010-08-13 Created: 2010-08-11 Last updated: 2017-12-12
3. "Framåt, gubbar!": Genus och militär praktik i ett internationellt insatsförband
Open this publication in new window or tab >>"Framåt, gubbar!": Genus och militär praktik i ett internationellt insatsförband
2010 (Swedish)In: Tidskrift för Genusvetenskap, ISSN 1654-5443, E-ISSN 2001-1377, no 1-2, 144-164 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Resolution 1325, ratified by the United nations in 2000, calls for increased gender awareness as well as an increase in the number of women officers in international peacekeeping operations. This article explores gender relations and military practice in a swedish military unit bound for such an operation. The article is based on an ethnographic study and draws on feminist theories of organization. The purpose is to discuss ordering practices in a military unit, and the gender patterns they create. I show that resolution 1325 reshapes gender distinctions in the military. Three sets of ordering practices are analyzed. I show that the practice of taken for granted masculinity tends to make women invisible and reinforce a mascu- line soldier norm. Furthermore, the practice of stereotyping reinforces perceived gender differences. The practice of the gendered resource constructs women officers as complementary to their male peers, and is related to the specific tasks women are assigned as a result of resolution 1325. In conclusion, I state that the resolution is a source of new gender distinctions in the military practice. First, a women’s niche is emerging and thus a new gender division of labor is constructed as a result of the resolution. second, the members of the studied unit tend to create a distinction between men, that is, between the swedish soldiers in the unit and the local men “down there”. Third, I show that the issue of gender equality in the unit is dislocated as a result of resolution 1325. The issue of “international gender equality” tends to marginalize questions concerning gender relations in the armed Forces. When 1325 is interpreted at the unit, it boils down to a handful of positions where women are required – for the sake of the operation.

National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-58590 (URN)
Note

Original Publication: Alma Persson , "Framåt, gubbar!": Genus och militär praktik i ett internationellt insatsförband, 2010, Tidskrift för genusvetenskap, 1-2, 144-164. Copyright: Tidskrift för genusvetenskap

Available from: 2010-08-17 Created: 2010-08-17 Last updated: 2017-12-12
4. An unintended side effect of pepper spray: Gender trouble and “repair work” in an Armed Forces unit
Open this publication in new window or tab >>An unintended side effect of pepper spray: Gender trouble and “repair work” in an Armed Forces unit
2012 (English)In: Men and Masculinities, ISSN 1097-184X, E-ISSN 1552-6828, Vol. 15, no 2, 132-151 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article tells the story of how pepper spray disrupted the everyday ways of being military men in a Swedish Armed Forces unit. It aims to show how military men are done and undone in the context of a highly strenuous military exercise. It is based on an ethnographic study carried out in a Swedish international service unit. The analysis shows how the exercise taught the soldiers how to behave as military men. Furthermore, it discusses the intimate forms of camaraderie that the soldiers practice and problematizes the scene of constraint that compulsory heterosexuality constitutes for their homosocial bonds. Theoretically, the article draws upon studies of men and masculinities and employs the concepts of homosociality and compulsory heterosexuality. By developing “repair work” as an analytical tool, it contributes to an understanding of how masculinities are done within, as well as beyond, the military context.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Publications, 2012
Keyword
Gender, masculinities, military, repair work, homosociality, sexualities
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-71234 (URN)10.1177/1097184X11429596 (DOI)000304818700003 ()
Note
On the day of the defence date the status of this article was: Manuscript.Available from: 2011-10-07 Created: 2011-10-07 Last updated: 2017-12-08Bibliographically approved

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