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Working for Change: Projectified Politics and Gender Equality
2017 (English)In: NORA: Nordic Journal of Feminist and Gender Research, ISSN 0803-8740, E-ISSN 1502-394X, Vol. 25, no 3, p. 163-178Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this article I argue that the project, a governmental technology that is now widespread and accepted throughout the public sector, is not a neutral tool for implementing policy and conducting politics. Rather, my argument is that this form is intrinsically political in so far as it produces disruptions and sets boundaries for how any given task is to be performed. By mobilizing a set of optical metaphors from feminist theory of difference, I examine organizations that work for gender equality in Swedish regional development and illustrate how the governmental technology of the project reflects, refracts, and diffracts the practices associated with this work. Thus, I argue that if one wishes to understand contemporary gender-equality work, it is reasonable to consider the specific effects that are produced as it passes through the project form. The short empirical illustrations given here indicate, among other things, how the project form functions in some respects as a mirror, and reflects aspects of gender-equality work that are commonly experienced regardless of form or setting, such as encountering resistance. In other respects, the project form refracts gender-equality work, bending it into new directions so that, for instance, securing funds and coming up with new innovative project plans takes precedence over the actual work that respondents feel they should be doing. Finally, the intersection of gender-equality work and the project form also produces diffraction effects, such as the emergence of hybrid consultants. These multi-faceted figures function as evaluators, controllers, activists, and disseminators of knowledge, which makes them simultaneously important to and disdained by the respondents in this study. Thus, it is concluded that the disruptive effects of the project form should be recognized as political and studied more extensively in the future.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 25, no 3, p. 163-178
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-65927DOI: 10.1080/08038740.2017.1370011ISI: 000416769700002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-65927DiVA: diva2:1177638
Available from: 2018-01-25 Created: 2018-01-25 Last updated: 2018-01-25

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  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
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  • vancouver
  • Other style
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  • de-DE
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  • nn-NB
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  • Other locale
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