The Invisible Civil Servant: How Female Senior Lecturers in Sweden Narrate Work
Keywords:Health, Working Environment & Wellbeing, Learning & Competencies, Gender, Ethnicity, Age and Diversity, Identity, Meaning & Culture, Labor Market Institutions & Social Partners, Organization & Management
This article examines the public administration role of university personnel who are state employees by analyzing female senior lecturers’ stories on working in Swedish universities, especially regarding how their role as a civil servant is narrated as part of their work. A performative narrative approach was used to analyze the in-depth interviews of four female senior lecturers at Swedish universities. Through the analysis, three shared storylines emerged: I don’t think of myself as a civil servant; You have to keep a certain level and It’s a solitary duty.The study revealed how the senior lecturer position was narrated by the interviewees in terms of duties to students and the public and the lack of efficient social support and knowledge.The findings are discussed as gendered expressions of working as a female senior lecturer in Sweden.
Acker, J. (2005) Class Questions: Feminist Answers, Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.
Acker, J. (2006) Inequality regimes: gender, class and race in organizations, Gender & Society 20(4): 441–464. doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/0891243206289499.
Acker, S. & Wagner, A. (2017) Feminist scholars working around the neoliberal university, Gender and Education 31(1): 62–81. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/09540253.2017.1296117
Aliaga, C. (2006) How is the Time of Women and Men Distributed in Europe?, Eurostat. Available at: https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/products-statistics-in-focus/-/KS-NK-06-004.
Angervall, P., Gustafsson, J. & Silfver, E. (2018) Academic career: on institutions, social capital and gender, Higher Education Research & Development 37(6): 1095–1108. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/07294360.2018.1477743.
Archer, L. (2008) Younger academics’ constructions of ‘authenticity’, ‘success’ and professional identity, Studies in Higher Education 33(4): 385–403. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/03075070802211729.
Becher, T. & Trowler, P. (2001) Academic Tribes and Territories, 2nd edn., Maidenhead: Open University Press.
Berger, L., Benschop, Y. & van den Brink, M. (2015) Practising gender when networking: the case of university-industry innovation projects, Gender, Work & Organization, 22(6): 556–578.
Bird, S., Litt, J. & Wang, Y. (2004) Creating status of women reports: institutional house- keeping as ‘women’s work’, NWSA Journal 16(1): 194–206. doi: https://doi.org/10.1353/nwsa.2004.0027.
Blaxter, L., Hughes, C. & Tight, M. (1998) Writing on academic careers, Studies in Higher Education 23(3): 281–295.
Bolman, L. G. & Gallos, J. V. (2011) Reframing Academic Leadership, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Brooks, A. & MacKinnon, A. (eds.) (2001) Gender and the Restructured University, Buckingham: Open University Press and the Society for Research into Higher Education.
Brown, M. H. (1985) That reminds me of a story: speech action in organizational socialization, Western Journal of Communication 49(1): 27–42. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/10570318509374179.
Butler, J. (1990) ‘Performative acts and gender constitution: an essay in phenomenology and feminist theory’, in Case, S. (ed.) Performing Feminisms: Feminist Critical Theory and Theatre, Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, pp. 73–83.
Carpenter, D. P. & Krause, G. A. (2012) Reputation and public administration, Public Administration Review 72(1): 26–32. doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-6210.2011.02506.x.
Carvalho, T. & Santiago, R. (2010) New challenges for women seeking an academic career: the hiring process in Portuguese higher education institutions, Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management 32(3): 239–249. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/13600801003743331.
Chandler, J., Barry, J. & Clark, H. (2002) Stressing academe: the wear and tear of the new public management, Human Relations 55(9): 1051–1069. doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/00187267020550090019.
Charmanz, K. (2006) Constructing Grounded Theory: A Practical Guide through Qualitative Analysis, Thousand Oaks: SAGE.
Clarke, C. A. & Knights, D. (2015) Careering through academia: securing identities or engaging ethical subjectivities? Human Relations 68(12): 1865–1888. doi: https://doi.org/10.1177%2F0018726715570978.
Clegg, S. (2008) Academic identities under threat?, British Educational Research Journal 34(3): 329–345. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/01411920701532269.
Currie, G., Humpreys, M., Waring, J. & Rowley, E. (2009) Narratives of professional regulation and patient safety: the case of medical devices in anaesthetics, Health, Risk & Society 11(2): 117–136. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/13698570902784257.
Cuthbert, R. (ed.) (1996) Working in Higher Education, Maidenhead: Open University Press.
Czarniawska, B. (2004) Narratives in Social Science Research, London: SAGE. Czarniawska, B. & Genell, K. (2002) Gone shopping? universities on their way to the market, Scandinavian Journal of Management 18(4): 455–474. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0956-5221(01)00029-X.
Davies, B. (2006) Women and transgression in the halls of academe, Studies in Higher Education 31(4): 497–509. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/03075070600800699.
Deem, R., Hillyard, S. & Reed, M. (2007) Knowledge, Higher Education, and The New Managerialism: The Challenging Management of UK Universities, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Elliot, J. (2005) Using Narrative in Social Research: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches, London: SAGE.
Enders, J., De Boer, H. & Weyer, E. (2013) Regulatory autonomy and performance: the reform of higher education revisited, Higher Education 65(1): 5–23. doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-012-9578-4.
Ericsson, U. & Rakar, F. (2017) Med minnen av en framtid: integration och etablering som meningsskapande processer [With memories of a future: integration and establishment as meaning-making processes], Arbetsmarknad & Arbetsliv [Labour Market & Working Life] 23(1): 10–26.
Estermann, T., Nokkala, T. & Steinel, M. (2011) University Autonomy in Europe II: The Scorecard, Brussels: European University Association.
Frank Fox, M., Bunker Whittington, K. & Linková, M. (2017) ‘Gender, (in)equity, and the scientific workforce’, in Felt, U., Fouché, R., Miller, A. & Smith-Doerr, L. (eds.) Handbook of Science and Technology Studies, Cambridge: MIT Press, pp. 701–733.
Fullan, M. & Scott, G. (2009) Turnaround Leadership for Higher Education, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Gergen, M. M. (1988) ‘Narrative structures in social explanation’, in Antaki, C. (ed.) Analys- ing Everyday Experience: A Casebook of Methods, London: SAGE, pp. 94–112.
Gill, R. (2009) Breaking the silence: the hidden injuries of neo-liberal academia, secrecy and silence in the research process, Feministische Studies 34(1): 39–55. doi: https://doi.org/10.1515/fs-2016-105.
Gillies, V. & Lucey, H. (eds.) (2007) Power, Knowledge and the Academy: The Institutional is Political, Basingtoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Guarino, C. M. & Borden, V. M. H. (2017) Faculty service loads and gender: are women taking care of the academic family?, Research in Higher Education 58(6): 672–694. doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11162-017-9454-2.
Hamlyn, D. W. (1996) The concept of a university, Philosophy 71(276): 205–218. doi: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0031819100041449P.
Harris, C., Myers, B. & Ravenswood, K. (2019) Academic careers and parenting: identity performance and surveillance, Studies in Higher Education 44(4): 708–718. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2017.1396584.
Haslanger, S. (2012) Gender and race: (what) are they? (what) do we want them to be?, Nous 34(1): 31–55.
Henkel, M. (2005) Academic identity and autonomy in a changing policy environment, Higher Education 49(1): 155–176. doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-004-2919-1.
Husu, L. (2005) ‘Women’s work-related and family-related discrimination and support in academia’, in Texler Segal, M. & Demos, V. (eds.) Gender Realities: Local and Global, Bingley: Emerald Group, pp. 161–199.
Jarvis, P. (2000) The changing university: meeting a need and needing to change, Higher Education Quarterly 54(1): 43–67. doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-2273.00144.
Kamp, A., Klemsdal, L. & Gonäs, L. (2013) Working in the public sector: introduction to the thematic issue, Nordic Journal of Working Life Studies 3(2): 1–8.
Keady, J., Clarke, C. L., Wilkinson, H., Gibb, C. E., Williams, L., Luce, A. & Cook, A. (2009) Alcohol-related brain damage: narrative storylines and risk constructions, Health, Risk & Society 11(4): 321–340. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/13698570903015743.
Keisu, B., Abrahamsson, L. & Rönnblom, M. (2015) Entrepreneurship and gender equality in academia: a complex combination in practice, Nordic Journal of Working Life Studies 5(1): 69–92.
Kligyte, G. & Barrie, S. (2014) Collegiality: leading us into fantasy: the paradoxical resilience of collegiality in academic leadership, Higher Education Research & Development 33(1): 157–169. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/07294360.2013.864613.
Lapping, C. (2006) Recodifications of academic positions and reiterations of desire: change but continuity in gendered subjectivities, Studies in Higher Education 31(4): 423–437. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/03075070600800509.
Leonard, D. (2001) A Woman’s Guide to Doctoral Studies, Buckingham: Open University Press.
Lipsky, M. (2010) Street-level Bureaucracy: Dilemmas of the Individual in Public Service, London: SAGE.
Lipton, B. (2017) Measures of success: cruel optimism and the paradox of academic women’s participation in Australian higher education, Higher Education Research & Development 36(3): 486–497. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/07294360.2017.1290053.
Lynch, K. & Ivancheva, M. (2015) Academic freedom and the commercialisation of universities: a critical ethical analysis, Ethics in Science and Environmental Politics 15(1): 71–85. doi: https://doi.org/10.3354/esep00160.
MacDonald, M., Phipps, S. & Lethbridge, L. (2005) Taking its toll: the influence of paid and unpaid work on women’s well-being, Feminist Economics 11(1): 63–94.
Mama, A. (2003) Restore, Reform but do not Transform: The Gender Politics of Higher Education in Africa, Journal of Higher Education in Africa, 1(1): 101—125.
Marginson, S. (2011) Higher education and public good, Higher Education Quarterly 65(4): 411–433. doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2273.2011.00496.x.
McAlpine, L. (2016) Why might you use narrative methodology? a story about narrative, Eesti Haridusteaduste Ajakiri 4(1): 32–57. doi: https://doi.org/10.12697/eha.2016.4.1.02b.
Mechlenborg Kristiansen, T. & Grønkjær, M. (2018) Focus groups as social arenas for the negotiation of normativity, International Journal of Qualitative Methods 17(1): 1–11. doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/1609406917747393.
Morgan, D. L. (1996) Focus groups, Annual Review of Sociology 22(1): 129–152. doi: https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.soc.22.1.129.
Morison, T. & Macleod, C. (2013) A performative-performance analytical approach: infusing Butlerian theory into the narrative-discursive method, Qualitative Inquiry 19(8): 566–577.
Morley, L. (1999), Organising feminisms, the micropolitics of the academy, New York, St. Martin’s Press.
Morley, L. (2005) Opportunity or exploitation. women and quality assurance in higher education, Gender and Education 17(4): 411–429. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/09540250500145106.
Morley, L. (2011) Misogyny posing as measurement: disrupting the feminization crisis discourse, Contemporary Social Science: Journal of the Academy of Social Sciences 6(2):223–235. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/21582041.2011.580615.
Morley, L. (2014) Lost leaders: women in the global academy, Higher Education Research & Development 33(1): 114–128. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/07294360.2013.864611.
Morley, L. (2016) Troubling intra-actions: gender, neo-liberalism and research in the global academy, Journal of Education Policy 31(1): 28–45. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/02680939.2015.1062919.
Müller, R. & Kenney, M. (2014) Agential conversations: interviewing postdoctoral life scien- tists and the politics of mundane research practices, Science as Culture 23(4): 537–559. doi: ttps://doi.org/10.1080/09505431.2014.916670.
Nash, K. (2019) Neo-liberalisation, universities and the values of bureaucracy, The Socio- logical Review 67(1): 178–193. doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/0038026118754780.
Neave, G. (2006) ‘On time and fragmentation: sundry observations on research, the univer- sity and politics from a waveringly historical perspective’, in Blückert, K., Neave, G. & Nybom, T. (eds.) The European Research University: An Historical Parenthesis?, New York: Palgrave Macmillan and International Association of Universities, pp. 63–76.
Newman, J. & Clarke, J. (2009) Publics, Politics and Power: Remaking the Public of Public Services, London: SAGE.
Nybom, T. (2006) ‘Creative intellectual destruction or destructive political creativity? critical reflections on the future of European “knowledge production”’, in Blückert, K., Neave, G. & Nybom, T. (eds.) The European Research University: An Historical Parenthesis?, New York: Palgrave Macmillan and International Association of Universities, pp. 3–16.
Pereira, M. D. M. (2017) Power, Knowledge and Feminist Scholarship. An Ethnography of Academia, New York: Routledge.
Peterson, E. E. & Langellier, K. M. (2006) The performance turn in narrative studies, Narra- tive Inquiry 16(1): 173–180. doi: https://doi.org/10.1075/ni.16.1.22pet.
Rainey, H. G. & Chun, Y. H. (2005) Public and private management compared, in Ferlie, E., Lynn, Jr., L. E., Pollitt, C. & Lynn, L. E. (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Public Manage- ment, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Salter, B. & Tapper, T. (2000) The politics of governance in higher education: the case of quality assurance, Political Studies 48(1): 66–87. doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9248.00251.
Sfard, A. & Prusak, A. (2005) Telling identities: in search of an analytical tool for investigat- ing learning as a culturally shaped activity, Educational Researcher 34(4): 14–22. doi: https://doi.org/10.3102/00131189X034004014.
Shams, F. (2019) Managing academic identity tensions in a Canadian public university: the role of identity work in coping with managerialism, Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management 41(6), 619–632. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/1360080X.2019.1643960.
Sparkes, A. C. (2007) Embodiment, academics, and the audit culture: a story seeking con- sideration, Qualitative Research 7(4): 521–550. doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/1468794107082306.
Statistics Sweden. (2012) Women and Men in Sweden: Facts and Figures 2012, Stockholm: Statistics Sweden. Available at: https://www.scb.se/contentassets/813b12534a254bb285 03983812d4649b/le0201_2012a01_br_x10br1201eng.pdf.
Statistics Sweden. (2016) Universitetet och högskolor: Personal vid universitet och högskolor 2015 [Higher education: Employees in Higher Education 2015], Stockholm: Statistics Sweden.
Stensaker, B., Välimaa, J. & Sarrico, C. S. (eds.) (2012) Managing Reforms in Universities. The Dynamics of Culture, Identity and Organizational Change, London: Palgrave MacMillan.
Stigmar, M. (2008) Faculty development through an educational action programme, Higher Education Research & Development 27(2): 107–120. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/07294360701805242.
Thornton, M. (2013) The mirage of merit, Australian Feminist Studies 28(76): 127–143. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/08164649.2013.789584.
Väänänen, A., Kevin, M. V., Ala-Mursala, L., Pentti, J., Kivimäki, M. & Vahtera, J. (2004) The double burden of and negative spillover between pain and domestic work: associations with health among men and women, Women and Health 40(3): 1–18.
Watermeyer, R. (2016) Public intellectuals vs. new public management: the defeat of public engagement in higher education, Studies in Higher Education 41(12): 2271–2285. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2015.1034261.
Weiler, K. (2008) The feminist imagination and educational research, Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education 29(4): 499–507. doi: https://doi.org/doi.org/10.1080/01596300802410219.
Whitchurch, C. (2008) Beyond administration and management: reconstructing the identities of professional staff in UK higher education, Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management 30(4): 375–386. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/13600800802383042.
Wilson, J., Marks, G., Noone, L. & Hamilton-MacKenzie, J. (2010) Retraining a foothold on the slippery paths of academia: university women, indirect discrimination, and the academic marketplace, Gender and Education 22(5): 535–545. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/09540250903354404.
How to Cite
The Copyright Holder of this Journal is the authors and the Journal. This Journal gives Open Access with CreativeCommons license CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0.
You can download all the content of the Journal and share it with others as long as you credit the authors and the journal, but you can’t change it in any way or use it commercially.
More specifically this license means that you – authors and users – may:
Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or form as long as you follow the license terms. The freedom to share includes parallel publishing on authors’ own website and in institutional repositories or in ResearchGate after publication in NJWLS, or if you want to reprint your article as part of publication of a PhD-thesis or a dissertation
You may share under these terms:
Attribution — You must give appropriate credit and provide a link to the license. Appropriate credit implies that you provide the name of the creator and attribution parties, a copyright notice, a license notice, a disclaimer notice, and a link to the material. The link used should be its DOI.
NonCommercial — You may not use the material for commercial purposes. A commercial use is one primarily intended for commercial advantage or monetary compensation.
NoDerivatives — If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you may not distribute the modified material. Merely changing the format never creates a derivative.
Exceptions to the license terms may be granted
If you want to use content in the Journal in another way then described by this license, you must contact the licensor and ask for permission. Contact Bo Carstens at firstname.lastname@example.org. Exceptions are always given for specific purposes and specific content only.
The Journal is listed as a blue journal in Sherpa/Romeo, meaning that the author can archive post-print ((ie final draft post-refereeing) and author can archive publisher's version/PDF.
Copyright of others
Authors are responsible for obtaining permission from copyright holders for reproducing any illustrations, tables, figures or lengthy quotations previously published elsewhere.
All published material is archived at Roskilde University Library, Denmark, and transmitted to the Danish Royal Library in conformity with the Danish rules of legal deposit.
We do not screen articles for plagiarism. It is the responsibility of the authors to make sure they do not plagiate.