Helen Peterson

Helen Peterson
Örebro University | oru · School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences

Professor

About

46
Publications
211,042
Reads
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533
Citations
Introduction
Since January 2020 a Professor in Sociology at Örebro University. Between 2014 and 2019 a Lecturer in Work Science at University of Gothenburg. Became Associate Professor (sv. Docent) in sociology at Uppsala University in 2012. Was a Visiting Scholar at Steinhardt Institute for Higher Education Policy, New York University, between 2013-2014. Received her Ph.D. degree in Sociology in 2005 from Uppsala University. Has also worked as an Assistant Professor at Linköping University (2009-2013).
Additional affiliations
July 2014 - present
University of Gothenburg
Position
  • Lecturer
September 2013 - May 2015
New York University
Position
  • Researcher
February 2009 - July 2013
Linköping University
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)

Publications

Publications (46)
Article
Sweden is among the countries with the highest per cent of women university Vice Chancellors in Europe. In She Figures 2012 the average proportion of female Vice Chancellors in the 27 European Union countries is estimated to be 10 per cent. In Sweden the number is much higher: 43 per cent. Swedish higher education management has witnessed a demogra...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose – The aims of this paper are twofold: first, to explore if and how management ideals are gendered within the context of Swedish higher education management and second, to investigate if and how the gendered character of these ideals has been challenged by new managerialism. Design/methodology/approach – The paper draws on qualitative semi-...
Article
Full-text available
This article explores voluntarily childless women’s experiences and understandings of human-animal interactions and their attitudes towards companion animals. It draws on interviews with 15 Swedish women who expressed a lack of “maternal” feelings and therefore had remained voluntarily childless, or childfree (used here as two interchangeable conce...
Article
Full-text available
This article explores a national women-only leadership development program in Swedish higher education, the so-called IDAS program (an acronym for Identity, Development, Advancement, Support). IDAS encouraged and supported women academics to pursue leadership/administrative careers in higher education and was a unique intervention, aiming to increa...
Book
Boken analyserar de lokala förutsättningarna för att arbeta med det politiska uppdraget att jämställdhetsintegrera svenska universitet och högskolor. Uppdraget presenterades första gången 2016 och omfattade perioden 2017–2019 och det är denna period som boken fokuserar på genom att analysera tolkningar av jämställdhet/jämställdhetsintegrering, orga...
Article
Full-text available
This article explores the experiences of micro change agents for gender equality in seven European Research Performing Organizations in seven different countries. The micro change agents were all participants of an international collaborative project consortium, implementing gender equality plans (GEPs), and funded by the European Commission during...
Chapter
This chapter explores institutionalised resistance to gender equality initiatives reported by 15 gender equality change agents (GECAs) in Swedish and Portuguese Higher Education (HE). Drawing on qualitative interviews with the GECAs, the study highlights similarities within the two national HE contexts, but also contextual nuances and variations. F...
Chapter
Full-text available
This paper focuses on monitoring as a key component of successful structural change projects. Project monitoring is usually defined as an ongoing collection of project data in order to assess whether a project is going in the right direction and follows the pace and stages set beforehand. This paper elaborates on the how, what and when of successfu...
Article
Full-text available
Gender Mainstreaming in Swedish Higher Education: the political directive reflected in institutional plans. The Swedish government’s latest reform of gender inequality in higher education set out to strengthen gender mainstreaming. Following this reform, the Swedish higher education institutions established gender mainstreaming plans for 2017-2019...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
In this paper we elaborate on the most significant changes reported on at the end of a four-year long European gender equality change project. During these four years more than 20 change agents actively worked to implement gender equality action plans in seven different research institutions. During the final months of the project, monitoring data...
Article
Full-text available
Applying a critical gendered lens, this article examines academic leadership ideals. It draws on a content analysis of job advertisements for Vice-Chancellors at Swedish higher education institutions from 1990 until 2018. The aim of the article is to investigate to what extent masculine or feminine wordings have been used to describe the ideal Vice...
Article
Full-text available
This Monitoring Handbook offers guidelines and recommendations concerning monitoring which were developed and applied during four years of monitoring activities in the GenderTime project. It also includes detailed information about the specific monitoring tools that were designed and implemented within the GenderTime project. As a Handbook, it thus...
Chapter
In this chapter, Joan Acker’s concept of gendered work ideals is used to understand the cultural clashes in transnational collaboration between Swedish and Indian firms. Interviews in two firms show that Indian employees collaborating with Sweden meet with conflicting ideals which they find difficult to realize, because of the differences between t...
Chapter
This chapter reports on a case study of a Swedish University, appointed the most gender equal university in Sweden. With the highest percentage of women professors in Swedish academia (35%) and a gender balance in senior academic management positions, it has received recognition for its achievements when it comes to quantitative gender equality. Dr...
Technical Report
Full-text available
The Monitoring Handbook outlines the guidelines and recommendations concerning monitoring which were developed and applied during 4 years in the GenderTime project. It also includes detailed information about the specific monitoring tools that were designed and implemented within the GenderTime project. By providing this type of practical informati...
Article
On a coutume d’expliquer la decision que prennent certaines femmes de ne pas avoir d’enfant par les inegalites existantes entre les hommes et les femmes dans le partage des tâches domestiques et parentales, et par des considerations liees a la carriere professionnelle des femmes. Cet article cherche a comprendre si la perception des inegalites de g...
Book
This is he first edited book on gender issues in transnational business cooperation concerning knowledge work. This area has so far been researched mainly by organizational theorists, with their background in business studies, finance, communication or sociology, and gender has seldom been taken into account in these studies. This book shows how fr...
Article
Full-text available
This article draws on interviews with Swedish voluntarily childless women and men in order to discuss their understandings of living in a so-called “child-friendly” welfare society where social policies subsidize families with children. Previous research from Anglo-Saxon countries implies that the social, political and economical interests of the v...
Article
Sweden is among the countries with the highest per cent of women university Vice Chancellors in Europe. In She Figures 2012 the average proportion of female Vice Chancellors in the 27 European Union countries is estimated to be 10 per cent. In Sweden the number is much higher: 43 per cent. Swedish higher education management has witnessed a demogra...
Article
Full-text available
This article investigates the experiences of employees and managers in Swedish companies that offshore IT services to India, focusing on how implementation of offshoring is changing the work organization and working conditions for software developers onsite. Our analysis highlights the fact that the working conditions have been significantly redesi...
Article
Full-text available
This article highlights the multifaceted character of the Swedish higher education sector and investigates senior academic management positions from a gender perspective using theories about an academic prestige economy and academic capitalism. The focus is on an aspect often overseen in research on Swedish academia: the distinction between univers...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to highlight how women managers in Swedish higher education (HE) both support and resist policies about equal representation, and to discuss which factors influenced if, and how, these managers took on the role as change agents for gender equality. Design/methodology/approach – The paper draws on qualitative...
Chapter
Full-text available
PurposeThe intent of this chapter is to discuss women managers as change agents in higher education. It focuses women’s increased access to senior academic management positions in Swedish higher education and investigates to what extent this increase is accompanied by changes to a masculine management norm. Methodology/approachThe chapter draws on...
Article
Full-text available
Sweden has the highest percentage of female university Vice Chancellors in Europe. Some of the factors that have promoted women's representation in senior management in Swedish academia are: political pressure in the form of goals and policies, quantitative target agreements concerning women's representation, top level commitment to gender equality...
Article
Full-text available
This article reports from the first studies on voluntary childlessness in Sweden and addresses a so far neglected issue – the embodied experiences of childfree women. These childfree women reject and resist pronatalist understandings that conflate being a woman with being a mother. However, instead of explaining their childlessness by external fact...
Chapter
Even if higher education institutions (HEIs) have been subject to important changes in the last few decades, it is undeniable that today, as in the emergence of the modern higher education (HE) systems enhanced by the Humboldtian revolution, producing and disseminating knowledge is one of their main missions (Etzkowitz & Leydesdorff 2000; Olssen &...
Article
Full-text available
This article applies a media frame analysis in order to highlight representations of voluntary childlessness in Swedish newspapers. The analysis identifies how childfree couples are framed as carefree, fulfilled and content. Childfree women on the other hand are framed as struggling with problems, stereotypes and doubts. Childfree men are absent an...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
GEXcel Work in Progress Report Volume X Proceedings from GEXcel Theme 11–12: Gender Paradoxes in Changing Academic and Scientific Organisation(s) Centre of Gendering Excellence – GEXcel Towards a European Centre of Excellence in Transnational and Transdisciplinary Studies of @BULLET Changing Gender Relations
Article
Full-text available
Drawing on quantitative and qualitative data, this article highlights the increasing proportion of women in senior academic management positions in Swedish higher education between 1990 and 2010. The article uncovers some of the factors that account for women's successful entrance into these positions. According to 22 interviewed female senior acad...
Book
Full-text available
It is a commonly held belief among sociologists that the Western world, at least, develops in the direction of increasing individualisation. According to this individualisation thesis, processes of individualisation have profound effects on gender relations and family life, e.g. they supposedly undermine gender inequality and traditional gender arr...
Article
Full-text available
”Barnen är framtiden!” Svensk politik strävar efter ett ”barnvänligt samhälle” där yrkesliv och föräldraskap ska kunna kombineras. Hur upplevs detta av den som väljer att vara barnfri? Om barn ses som ett bidrag till framtidens nation vad tillför då barnfria samhället?
Article
Full-text available
International research has addressed the subject but in Sweden voluntary childlessness has until now been overlooked. This article draws on qualitative, semi-structured interviews with 21 Swedish childfree women. The interviews focused their decision not to have children and attitudes they faced due to their rejection of motherhood. They all had en...
Book
Full-text available
Barn eller inte barn? Det är en fråga som de flesta någon gång tar ställning till. I de nordiska länderna bestämmer sig många för att skaffa barn. Några vill ha barn, men blir inte gravida. Andra bestämmer sig för att inte skaffa barn - de väljer frivillig barnlöshet. Det är om de barnfria som denna antologi handlar. Frivillig barnlöshet handlar o...
Article
Full-text available
This article reports on the results from the two first studies on voluntary childlessness in Sweden and draws on interviews with 30 childfree women and 6 men. The article explores how they managed to create a legitimate childfree position in a soci-ety permeated by pronatalistic norms proclaiming parenthood to be self-evident in an adult normal lif...
Article
Full-text available
Studies show that in order to become a successful, respected and trusted,technical expert it is essential to display technical self-confidence, competitiveness and ambition. However, women in technical work settings often find it difficult to adjust to this work ideal. Rather than promoting themselves they choose to understate their technical compe...
Article
The analysis in this article draws on interviews with managers and employees in the Swedish IT consultant sector, a sector characterized by widespread redundancies in the first three years of the 21st century. The article suggests that the interviewees' distinction between and assessment of workers of value and workers without value to justify and...
Thesis
Full-text available
This thesis deals with work environments defined as post-bureaucratic, and which are characterised by individualisation and a decrease in the employer's formal control. The study shows how the employees in such work contexts are both empowered and disciplined. The main questions concern to what extent power shifts in relations between the employer...
Article
Full-text available
New ways of organising work and family - new ways of constructing gender in organizations. How is the individualization in the post-modern society influencing the gender construction at work and in the family? In this paper I discuss the individualization that characterize the "post-modern" society from a critical feminist standpoint. In my researc...

Questions

Questions (12)
Question
Which different theoretical perspectives (within feminist theory) would you make sure to include?
Question
Is it even possible to combine discourse and frame in the same analysis? What is the relationship between frame and discourse? Is one methodological and analytical approach better than the other depending on what empirical material is used or what kind of research questions asked?
Question
I'm looking for qualitative methods to evaluate policies concerning gender equality.
Question
Advantages vs. disadvantages between the two approaches? I've used discourse analysis before but am leaning towards using frame analysis in my next study. Grateful for any suggestions, advice or experiences shared. Thanks!
Question
I'm trying to develop a new project and I think I might need to use both perspectives - both network analysis and social movement theory. I welcome any ideas, suggestions or advice on how to combine them and what their strenghts and weaknesses are - if compared. I've never worked with any of these theories.
Question
With "translation" I mean as defined by Latour and used/developed by e.g. Czarniawska. I I would like to combine "translation" with critical discourse theory - and use them to build analytical tools to interpret qualitative data - but I'm not very familiar with the translation concept and not sure it's possible. All suggestions are very welcomed!

Network

Cited By

Projects

Projects (7)
Project
The aim of the project is to investigate how government regulations and requirements concerning active gender equality work are “translated” into local policies, plans and actions by institutional leaders and gender equality practitioners in Swedish academia.
Archived project
Project
Women in Higher Education Management (WHEM) is an international feminist research consortium. Its vision is to analyse the challenges for women in university management, to develop comparative studies about women in senior management roles and to develop strategies that can empower women to apply for and succeed in senior management roles.