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Slaget om femininiteten: Skolledarskap som könsskapande praktik
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education. (Seminariet för skola och bildning)
2009 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
The Battle over Femininity : School Leadership as Gender Creating Practice (English)
Abstract [en]

The aim of the dissertation is to highlight how different ideas about gender and gender discourses have created varying conditions for the formation of school leadership in different eras. The empirical material consists of historically documented material in a text-based study and interview material comprising interviews with a total of 18 comprehensive school principals from two interview studies. The period covered by the material is 1830–2006. The theoretical point of departure is post-structural theory formation, where Joan W. Scott’s and Judith Butler’s theoretical line of reasoning constitutes the basis of the dissertation’s gender and discourse analyses. The analyses highlight active gender discourses throughout the history of school leadership and which gender discourses regulate principals’ everyday work in the 21st century, how different gender discourses intervene and gain ground among principals and have significance for which gender and professional positions are possible for today’s principals to adopt and allocate to teachers and students. The dissertation highlights four active gender discourses: the essential sexual difference discourse, the sameness discourse, the difference discourse and a transgressive gender discourse. The results indicate the survival force of the essential sexual difference discourse, where femininity is always subordinate to masculinity. The greatest gender battle has been around femininity. Throughout its history school leadership has mainly been focused on and talked about in terms of female/feminine and male/masculine, but where femininity has always been questioned and subjected to constant definition and redefinition. Thus far in the 21st century the difference discourse’s femininity affirming dimension has been normalised and takes shape in a new and transgressive gender discourse where both femininity and masculinity are available for both female and male principals’ identifications and materialisations. However, at the same time as principals have related to new and transgressive gender ideals in certain situations they defer to the essential sexual difference discourse’s gender stereotyped and hierarchical divisions and expectations. The dissertation shows how the transgressive gender discourse contributes to the dissolution of gender polarity, with optional identities. Parallel with this and contrary to what in terms of gender could be described as the basis for a more democratic and equal school, the dissertation also shows how female principals and female teachers, together with certain groups of girls, sometimes find themselves in continued subordinate and vulnerable positions in accordance with a very old essential sexual difference definition.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Pedagogiska institutionen, Stockholms universitet , 2009. , 258 p.
Doktorsavhandlingar från Pedagogiska institutionen, Stockholms universitet, ISSN 1104-1625 ; 162
Keyword [en]
school leadership, gender, principal, discourse analysis, school leadership history, feminist post-structuralism
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-30761ISBN: 978-91-7155-949-4OAI: diva2:273849
Public defence
2009-12-04, Magnélisalen, Kemiska övningslaboratoriet, Svante Arrhenius väg 16B, Stockholm, 13:00 (Swedish)
Available from: 2009-11-12 Created: 2009-10-25 Last updated: 2010-06-15Bibliographically approved

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Söderberg Forslund, Monica
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