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Rebecca Selberg

Rebecca Selberg

Associate senior lecturer

Rebecca Selberg

Femininity at Work - Gender, Labour, and Changing Relations of Power in a Swedish Hospital


  • Rebecca Selberg

Summary, in English

Gender scholarship has identified how paid care work reproduces male dominance and reinforces women's subordination, but also how labour and workplaces provide a critical space for women through the development of new forms of identity and struggle. In this ethnographic study of Swedish nurses' work, the concept of normative femininity is used in order to explore gender, labour, and changing relations of power in the context of the neoliberal transformation of the Swedish welfare state.

The study shows how nursing has undergone dramatic changes in terms of work intensification and new forms of subordination and class boundaries. At the same time, the nursing profession has embraced nurses' new role as adjunct managers in running clinics and taking on new responsibilities offered by New Public Management.

Gendered subjectivities are at the level of the work place produced and reproduced through notions of femininities that shape and are shaped by the labour process. The study is located within the emerging field of ethnographies of neoliberalism and offers an empirical analysis of change and continuity in the relationship between femininity and care work among nurses employed in a Swedish hospital.

Publishing year




Document type





  • Gender Studies


  • Care work
  • Gender
  • Femininity
  • Nursing
  • Nurses
  • Labour process
  • Ethnography
  • Neoliberalism




  • Gunnar Olofsson
  • Diana Mulinari

Defence date

20 December 2012

Defence time


Defence place

Linnaeus University


  • Jeffrey Hearn