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Constructions of Innovation and Gender (Equality) in Swedish Universities
Umea° Centre for Gender Studies, Umeå University.
Department of Sociology, Umeå University.
2013 (English)In: International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship, ISSN 1756-6266, E-ISSN 1756-6274, Vol. 5, no 3, 342-356 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose – This paper utilizes the concept of innovation as a form of methodological starting-point in order to analyse the gendered meanings of marketization in Swedish universities. The purpose of the paper is to scrutinize how the concept of innovation is produced in Swedish universities, and how these versions of innovation are gendered and related to different understandings of gender equality.

Design/methodology/approach – The analysis departs from a critical perspective to studies of gender equality and is anchored in a critical policy analysis approach – the “what's the problem represented to be? Approach” developed by Bacchi. This approach is used in the analysis of interviews with top-level leaders at two Swedish universities and how they perceive innovation. The results are related to a governmentality framework in order to explain the gendered innovation discourse in academia.

Findings – One of the main results is that innovation is represented in a broad way when discussed at a more abstract level. However, when the discussion becomes more concrete and also related to a gendered understanding of the researchers actually turning their research results into innovations, this broad representation of innovation shrinks. The analysis also shows how a governmentality framework both explains the inevitability of innovation and the difficulties of working for political change for women in the academy.

Originality/value – In analysing innovation as produced instead of taken for granted, this article puts forward a critical understanding of innovation, both in relation to gender and to the inevitability of de-politicisation processes of the neo-liberal audit culture in academia.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 5, no 3, 342-356 p.
Keyword [en]
Innovation, Gender theory, Feminist theory
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Political Science
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-29884DOI: 10.1108/IJGE-09-2012-0047OAI: diva2:658436
Available from: 2013-10-21 Created: 2013-10-21 Last updated: 2016-10-14Bibliographically approved

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Rönnblom, Malin
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