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To stand in line and fit in—About military men's (un)reflected navigation in the armed forces
Swedish Defence University, Institutionen för ledarskap och ledning, Leadership and Command & Control Division Stockholm. Division of Risk Management and Societal Safety, Lund University, (SWE).ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5464-5259
Division of Risk Management and Societal Safety, Lund University, (SWE).
2023 (English)In: Sociology Compass, E-ISSN 1751-9020, Vol. 17, no 3Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The purpose of the study is to investigate how the everyday experience of being a man in a male-dominated organization and what navigating the organization is like. The study builds on 15 interviews with men of various ages and ranks in the Swedish Armed Forces. The findings revealed three major themes that illustrate how men, and their actions, contribute to producing and re-producing gendered norms. First, the ideal military person is seen to have characteristics that are predominantly male and even though respondents only identify with these characteristics to some extent, the typical male ideal is still prevalent within the Armed Forces. Second, this image is reproduced by an uncritical stance towards the internal workings of the organization, relating to career paths and their reliance of traditional gendered roles. Third, the Armed Forces encounter resistance to gender equality work from within the military organization, in both action and inactions. We suggest this is due to a resistance to change and that work with gender equality is minimized to a shadow task that lacks committed men. We conclude that men's reality seems both obvious and unreflected, and these structures are upheld within the Armed Forces.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2023. Vol. 17, no 3
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Research subject
Leadership and Command & Control
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:fhs:diva-11318DOI: 10.1111/soc4.13056OAI: oai:DiVA.org:fhs-11318DiVA, id: diva2:1725853
Available from: 2023-01-12 Created: 2023-01-12 Last updated: 2023-10-27Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Gender (in)equality within the Swedish Armed Forces: Resistance and Functional Disinclination
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Gender (in)equality within the Swedish Armed Forces: Resistance and Functional Disinclination
2023 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Historically and traditionally, military work has been closely associated with men. However, the post-Cold War normalization process has brought about a transformation in both the Swedish Armed Forces themselves and the perception of the organization. Normative concerns, including gender equality, have gained significant prominence, compelling the armed forces to embark onvarious initiatives aimed at achieving a more gender-balanced structure. Despite the extensive profiling and efforts made by the Swedish Armed Forces (SAF) over the past decades, women currently make up only 11.9% of the military personnel.

This dissertation examines how (in)equality manifests itself in the military profession today, in view of the substantial changes that have occurred. The dissertation encompasses both the experiences of personnel and the actions of the organisation. By doing so, it sheds light on the gradual advancement of gender equality within the SAF, attributing this delay to resistance against change that becomes evident at the structural, organizational, and professional levels. This resistance is further explained through the concept of "functional disinclination," which emerges from the empirical studies presented in this dissertation.

Utilizing a range of data and methodologies, the dissertation collectively highlights an organizational incapacity to align with the normative demands set forth. The barriers to achieving gender equality are not merely reflective of resistance; they also form a recurring pattern that impedes the implementation of normative changes

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Lund: Division of Risk Management and Societal Safety, Faculty of Engineering, Lund University, 2023
Keywords
gender equality, military, Swedish Armed Forces, resistance, military profession
National Category
Gender Studies Work Sciences
Research subject
Leadership and Command & Control
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:fhs:diva-11851 (URN)978-91-8039-793-3 (ISBN)978-91-8039-794-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2023-10-13, Lecture Hall V:A, building V, John Ericssons väg 1, Faculty of Engineering LTH, Lund, 09:00
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2023-10-09 Created: 2023-10-09 Last updated: 2023-10-11Bibliographically approved

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