Javascript is not activated in your browser. This website needs javascript activated to work properly.
You are here

Rebecca Selberg

Assistant Professor and Director of Studies

Current research
I currently work in the project Nailing New Femininities - an institutional ethnography on new forms of labor and consumption. Manicure and pedicure represent the fastest growing segment within the Swedish beauty industry, and nail technician is becoming an increasingly common career path for women in Sweden. The image of the nail salon, however, is conflicting; on the one hand, it is represented as a space for women’s enterprise in aesthetic labor and new forms of commodified care practices. On the other hand, it can be viewed as an example of the precarious employment conditions opening up at the crossroads between public and private in times of neoliberal globalization. Despite the growing international interest in issues of embodiment and the cultural and economic meanings of increased consumption of goods and services in what has been conceptualized as “body maintenance” and “body modification” industry, few studies in the Scandinavian context have paid specific attention to the people – a majority of which are women – performing such body-related services. There is a need for new research into the conditions and experiences of work of those employed, formally or informally, at workplaces providing consumers with body-related services. The aim of this project, an institutional ethnography of three different types of nail salons, is to explore manicure as work, as commodity and as an expression of the increasing significance of embodied attributes in relation to hierarchies of gender, sexualities, race/ethnicity, class and the interpellation of workers in different contexts. The focus of the project is on the conditions of work and career possibilities for employees and entrepreneurs in the nail salon business in Sweden. Research questions include: How is this type of body work organized, regulated and performed at the workplace level? What is the role of emotional labor and the doing of femininity in shaping interactions and workplace identities? What are the relationships between service workers and clients in different types of nail salons?   


My doctoral thesis, Femininity at Work: Gender, Labour, and Changing Relations of Power in a Swedish Hospital, was published by the end of 2012 (Arkiv). My research interest is work and the production and reproduction of complex inequalities. The thesis is an ethnographic study of nurses' conditions of work under neoliberal change. Through interviews and observations, the study explores the ways in which varying forms of femininities are produced in relation to labour processes within the inequality regime of the hospital. I teach at the Department of Gender Studies since 2011.

Mulinari & Selberg (2013). Intersectional Directions in Working Life Research - a Proposal. Nordic Journal Of Working Life Studies.

Selberg, Rebecca (2012). Femininity at work: gender, labour, and changing relations of power in a Swedish hospital. Diss. Växjö : Linnéuniversitetet.

Selberg, Rebecca & Mulinari, Paula (red.) (2011). Arbete: intersektionella perspektiv. 1. uppl. Malmö: Gleerup


Rebecca portrait
E-mail: rebecca [dot] selberg [at] genus [dot] lu [dot] se

Senior lecturer

Department of Gender Studies

+46 46 222 09 18



Department of Gender Studies
Visiting address: Allhelgona Kyrkogata 14, House M, Lund
Postal address: Box 117, 221 00 Lund, Sweden
Phone +46 46-222 00 00 (operator)
Fax: 046-222 40 04

Faculty of Social Sciences