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Gender and forestry: A critical discourse analysis of forestry professions in Sweden

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In this article, discourse analysis is used to examine how gender, i.e. ideas of specific masculine or feminine qualities, is linked to forestry professions. The dynamic genderization concept is introduced to understand better how and why the process of gender coding takes place within the forestry field. Discourse here is understood as a particular way of using language and other symbolic forms such as visual images, which does not simply reflect or represent social entities and relations, but constructs or constitutes them. The empirical material consists of 55 job advertisements for supervisors and rangers and 142 texts and images about the forestry professions published in the Swedish forestry press during this years 1990-1991 and 2000-2001. The results show that little has changed during the 10 year period. The discourse continues to (re)produce a manifest portrait of the ideal forester as a hard-working and nature-mastering man. This hegemonic masculinity is to a large extent formed around a rural masculine identity with a strong interest in hunting and wildlife. At the same time, several texts reveal that female foresters appeared to need a male mentor to enter the field, especially at the beginning of the 1990s. It is through such a "helper" that they seem to receive legitimacy as professionals. Further, the forestry press tends to make statements that gender does not matter. In conclusion, the increased number of female foresters has not brought with it any significant change in the dominant gender coding of the studied forestry professions.

Keywords: Culture; forester; genderization; job advertisement; masculinity; media representation; women

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Forest Resource Management, Umeå, SLU, Sweden 2: Department of Culture and Media, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden

Publication date: 2007-01-01

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